One by one, we watch people get radicalized.

When they start, they are innocent. These people simply manufacture a product that is meant to improve the public health. They are uninvolved in efforts at tort reform or to improve the judicial system.

Then, there’s a glitch: A television show; an FDA announcement; an adverse jury verdict; something.

Then, the deluge: Lawsuits by the mailbag full.

Then, there’s the radicalization: “How can the plaintiffs’ bar do this to us? It’s an outrage!” And only then, too late, do they become involved in efforts at reform.

(This scenario is actually more typical of device companies than drug companies. Most pharmaceutical companies are all too keenly aware of the litigation environment that they inhabit.)

Here’s today’s victim: C.B. Fleet of Lynchburg, Virginia.

The FDA issued a Patient Information Sheet about a rare side effect of ingesting an oral phosphate product used for cleansing bowels before patients undergo colonoscopies. (This link takes you to the C.B. Fleet website, which in turn links to the FDA’s announcement.)

The plaintiffs’ bar started trolling for clients.

And now the press has picked up the story. Here’s a link to an article from yesterday’s Arizona Republic. Apparently, there are more than 50 lawsuits already on file, and this press coverage won’t help any.

We’re terribly sorry to welcome the folks at C.B. Fleet to the club. We regret only that, like the others, they will have become radicalized too late.

We’re reminded of the words of Martin Niemöller:

“When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”