May
24
Fri
Artificial Intelligence: How to Ensure it Benefits Patients? @ Lecture Theatre 2, Academic Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital
May 24 @ 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm
Artificial Intelligence: How to Ensure it Benefits Patients? @ Lecture Theatre 2, Academic Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital

As part of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre’s Open Day, a panel of experts will discuss how artificial intelligence can be used to benefit patients and the challenges that it presents. The discussion will be chaired by Professor Lionel Tarassenko, world-leading expert in the application of signal processing to medical systems.

Breakthroughs in Asthma Treatment @ Lecture Theatre 2, Academic Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital
May 24 @ 2:30 pm – 3:10 pm
Breakthroughs in Asthma Treatment @ Lecture Theatre 2, Academic Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital

As part of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre’s Open Day, Professor Ian Pavord will discuss emerging treatments for asthma, a condition that affects 5.4 million people in the UK. Professor Pavord is an internationally renowned researcher with a particular interest in asthma, chronic pulmonary disease and chronic cough.

Stopping the Spread of a Superfungus in Intensive Care @ Lecture Theatre 2, Academic Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital
May 24 @ 3:20 pm – 4:10 pm
Stopping the Spread of a Superfungus in Intensive Care @ Lecture Theatre 2, Academic Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital

As part of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre’s Open Day, Dr David Eyre, an infectious diseases researcher and clinician, and Dr Katie Jeffery, Consultant in Microbiology at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will discuss how they used infection prevention and control best practice, whole genome sequencing and electronic patient data to halt an outbreak of a potentially deadly fungal pathogen at the John Radcliffe Hospital between 2015 and 2017.

Jun
11
Tue
Transnational Litigation, Big Pharma, and Billion Dollar Claims @ Wolfson College
Jun 11 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Transnational Litigation, Big Pharma, and Billion Dollar Claims @ Wolfson College

In this lecture, lawyer Mary Bartkus shares her firsthand experience of the international litigation of multibillion dollar claims against Big Pharma when a medication taken by millions of users worldwide is withdrawn.

She will address the impact of the withdrawal and United States litigation on regulators, legislators, and on cross-border litigation in common law and civil law jurisdictions across six continents.

When Merck & Co., Inc. withdrew the innovative painkiller Vioxx (Rofecoxib) from more than eighty countries following evidence that high-dosage use could cause an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, thousands of US citizens brought personal injury claims.

A Texas jury awarded more than $250 million to one individual claimant. Although that verdict was reduced and later overturned on appeal, and most US juries found for the company, with more than 26,000 US court claims yet to be tried and another 14,100 waiting to be filed, the company agreed to resolve the US personal injury claims for $4.85 billion, a deal said to be “favourable” to the company and “clearly at the low end of general expectations”.

Internationally, claims were brought in waves following developments in the US. These international cases would be heard and decided in jurisdictions with different traditions and conditions for litigants.

In Australia, a justice of the Federal Court dismissed all claims against Merck & Co., Inc. in class litigation, finding “Merck had done everything that might reasonably be expected of it in the discharge of its duty of care”. The Full Court overturned an award of damages to the individual representative claimant for failure to establish causation, and awarded full costs to the company; the High Court denied claimants leave to appeal. Claims of remaining group members then were resolved.

In England, claimants abandoned multi-party actions filed in the High Court. In Scotland, the parties litigated and resolved individual actions. In Canada, the parties litigated and resolved overlapping class and individual actions in ten provinces. Courts regularly dismissed cases in civil law jurisdictions.

The lecture considers this landmark international litigation alongside the challenges companies face when investing billions of dollars to develop innovative medications, and asks: Who won and who lost?

Mary E. Bartkus is Special Counsel at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, a member of the Bars of New York and New Jersey; previously Executive Director & Senior Counsel, Merck & Co., Inc.