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The Pediatric Forum
June 1998

The Physicians' Desk Reference Should Not Be Held as a Legal Standard of Medical Care—Reply

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(6):610. doi:

In reply

The PDR in and of itself does not establish a standard of care or whether a physician adhered to a particular standard; only expert testimony can do that. The PDR is used by attorneys as a resource to support testimony that a certain adverse effect can occur with a drug and that the manufacturer or physician knew or should have known about it. It is most useful as an impeachment tool if a pharmaceutical manufacturer or physician denies knowledge of a particular adverse effect or disputes the existence of the adverse effect. While I am sympathetic to the authors' view that the PDR may receive inappropriate emphasis in a particular legal proceeding, its use is limited to supporting an opinion about the appropriateness of prescribing a particular drug. Any defendant can make the arguments set forth by the authors to try to convince the jury that the PDR is not the "Bible."