The new public health litigation

Annu Rev Public Health. 2000;21:437-54. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.21.1.437.


In recent years there has been an increasing use of litigation as a public health tool. Litigation has been brought to advance policies concerning such matters as tobacco, gun violence, and lead paint. This article discusses this development and the criticism that can be leveled at using litigation to develop public health policy. The article concludes that, although litigation may not always be successful, it can deter dangerous activities and play an important role in advancing the political and social struggle for public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Democracy
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Politics
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States