Court Says Pfizer May Be Liable For Side Effects Of Drug, Even Though Man Took Non-Pfizer Generic Version

from the slippery-slope dept

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.

Filed Under: drugs, generics, liability, pharmaceuticals, reglan, tardive dyskinesia
Companies: actavis, pfizer, teva

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  1. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 7 Feb 2013 @ 8:27am

    Re: Just a quick search ... and harsh opinion.

    > When I find a doctor that I trust and is knowledgeable, I follow their advice. They're the ones that have been to medical school and trained to do their jobs.

    You would think. You would certainly hope so. However, when it comes to DRUGS this is not something you can assume. You cannot simply treat a doctor like some sort of scientific equivalent of a Bishop or cult leader.

    Quite often, your local pharmacist will be far more competent about this stuff because that's what they actually study and that's what they do day in and day out.

    That's not even getting into the problem that there is a wide range of competence and dedication among doctors.

    If you are just a blind follower, you are really taking your life into your hands.

    You don't need to be a sheep. You can buy yourself a copy of the PDR or just use Google.

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