by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 6th 2013 11:57pm
An interesting case in the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that a man who developed a movement disorder (tardive dyskinesia) after taking a generic version of the drug Reglan can sue Pfizer, the maker of Reglan, even though it did not make the actual generic he had taken (he took generics from both Actavis and Teva, both of whom he's sued as well). This one is a tricky one on the question of secondary liability, thanks to the oddities of the pharmaceutical world. While, naturally, it sounds absurd that Pfizer can be sued for a drug it didn't make, the regulatory world makes it slightly more complicated -- in part because current law says that generic drug companies could not be sued over failures in labeling of risks, because they're basically copying the labels from the brand name manufacturer. Other courts have ruled that the brand name manufacturers can't be sued -- so in theory that could leave the takers of generics with no legal recourse if there were failures to accurately label the drugs they took. Given that, it seems slightly more reasonable to think the brand manufacturer may be more responsible for what's on the label -- but since they can't monitor quality control of the generic, the whole thing seems like quite the legal muddle all around.
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