Judges dismiss cases against generic-drug makers in droves

Courts are bound by last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Pliva v. Mensing

A Supreme Court ruling last year has made it impossible for plaintiffs who experience bad reactions to generic drugs to obtain legal remedies.

On June 23, 2011, the high court decided 5-4 in Pliva v. Mensing that generic drug-makers are not liable for failing to warn patients about adverse side effects their drugs can cause. The majority reasoned that the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984 prohibits generic manufacturers from changing their drugs’ labels to differ from their Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved brand-name equivalents’ labels at any point in time. Nonetheless, Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote for the court, admitted that the ruling made “little sense” in light of the Supreme Court’s 2009 ruling in Wyeth v. Levine, in which the court found that plaintiffs can sue brand-name manufacturers for inadequate label warnings.

Ashley Post

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