While a statewide debate continues on the effect large jury awards have on rising medical malpractice insurance costs, the First Judicial District reports that the number of multimillion-dollar awards in medical malpractice cases fell almost 37 percent in 2001.

According to the district, there were 19 med mal jury awards of more than $1 million in 2001; in 2000, there were 30; and in 1999, 32. The 37 percent drop was registered between 2001 and 2000. When last year’s numbers are compared to 1999′s, the decline in multimillion-dollar med mal awards is 40 percent.