The effect of publication on Internet-based solicitation of personal-injury litigants

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Serious adverse drug events can prompt personal-injury lawsuits. However, the extent to which biomedical publication regarding drug-induced harm can influence the legal process has not been well characterized. Using an advanced Google search strategy, we determined the number of Internet “hits” for websites soliciting plaintiffs for medicolegal action before and after publication of a study that highlighted the risk of dysglycemia among patients taking the antibiotic gatifloxacin. We found that early online release and print publication were associated with an immediate and sustained increase in the number of websites soliciting plaintiffs for legal action.

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