Victims of Defective Generic Medications Win Big in California Supreme Court Ruling
A recent decision made by the California Supreme Court could have far-reaching influence over pharmaceutical lawsuits across the country. The Court ruled that plaintiffs injured by generic prescription medications can sue the brand name manufacturer when the drugs are inadequately labeled. The ruling is a huge win for people who have been harmed by dangerous generic drugs because it gives them a way to be compensated for their injuries.
Many victims of dangerous medications feel that the manufacturers making massive profits off of expensive drugs should be responsible if they sell consumers a dangerous product. At Parker Waichman LLP, our attorneys feel that pharmaceutical companies need to be held responsible for their decisions to put profits before people. Our clients have found that fighting back against unethical or negligent companies gives them back a sense of control over their lives.
Why is the California Decision Important to Defective Drug Victims?
Federal law has held that generic pharmaceutical companies are not liable if the labeling of their products is inadequate and puts consumers at risk of harm. The reason for this decision is that generic manufacturers are bound by law to use the labels created by the brand name company that initially made the drug, and therefore could not be found liable if the label failed to warn patients of known risks.
Unfortunately, most courts across the country have not permitted victims of faulty generic drugs to file claims against the brand name manufacturer for harm caused by the fact that the generic drug’s label was not adequate. The situation left many people without any recourse for harm caused to them by pharmaceutical companies.
In the recent decision made by the California Supreme Court, the plaintiffs, twin brothers, suffered brain damage from a drug that their mother took to treat preterm labor. The drug was known to carry a risk of brain damage for unborn children, and yet the label created by the brand name manufacturer, Novartis, failed to warn of the dangers. Novartis then sold the rights to the drug for a profit, and the generic version of the medication, Brethine, was prescribed to pregnant women who did not know about the devastating damage it could cause to their infants.
Because the plaintiffs could not sue the generic company, who were not responsible for writing the defective label anyway, they sued the brand name manufacturer. Plaintiffs argued that the company should be liable because Novartis wrote the label, knew the generic company was required to use that label, did not include the risks on the label despite the fact that they knew of the risks, and chose to profit from the drug instead of protecting patients.
Under the Court’s decision, drug companies cannot decide to sell dangerous drugs to generic companies for a profit and rid themselves of any liability. The Court ruled that Novartis’ failure to warn was the foreseeable and proximate cause of the brain damage to the plaintiffs.
A Win for Victims of Defective Drugs
The California Supreme Court’s decision does not control the law for other states, but there is a good chance that other courts will be influenced the reasoning of the California Court and the ruling. In the near future, other states will likely determine that victims of dangerous drugs should have their day in court. Cases in other jurisdictions are currently pending.
If more states decide to follow California’s lead, there could be a surge of litigation over defective generic drugs. About 90% of prescriptions in the United States are generic forms of drugs. This means that in situations where drugs caused injuries because of labeling defects, 9 out of 10 people were not able to hold a company liable. Now in California, those injured have the right to hold the manufacturers liable, and other states will likely follow. There are likely millions of victims who now have a chance to be compensated for their injuries.
Labeling is Not the Only Way a Drug Can be Defective
While this case impacted injuries related to faulty labels, there are other ways that medications can be defective. Sometimes, a drug is defective because of a problem that occurred during manufacturing. For instance, the medication could have been contaminated, or the amount of the drug could have been incorrect. Either could cause severe injuries, and the company could be held liable.
In sxome cases, a drug might carry dangerous side effects that put people at risk. It is possible that the company did not know the risks, or that the company did know and did not let consumers know. Either way creates liability. There are also times when a drug is marketed as a treatment for a condition that it is not suited to treat.
Parker Waichman LLP Works for Victims of Bad Drugs
Parker Waichman LLP is a nationally recognized law firm with decades of experience advocating for victims of unsafe pharmaceuticals. We have successfully recovered more than $2 billion in compensation for our clients. Our attorneys believe that companies must be held responsible when they sell dangerous products. Pharmaceutical companies are projected to bring in $610 billion in the United States by the year 2021. These massive companies should not be shielded from their responsibility to consumers. By holding these companies liable when they are negligent or unethical, we can make everyone safer.
Statutes of Limitations: Why you should not wait to act
Every state has a statute of limitations that limits how long an injured person has to file their claim. States determine the length of their statutes. Some states require that a product liability suit is filed in two years, while other states give plaintiffs a longer time period to initiate their claim. The clock typically begins to run at the time of the injury, or in some instances, when the injury is discovered and believed to be caused by the defective product.
It is important not to wait to speak to an attorney because even if you have a clear-cut claim that should allow you to collect compensation, once your time has run out, your claim can be blocked.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP
If you or a family member has been injured by a defective drug, whether brand name or generic, contact Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free consultation with one of our experienced defective drug attorneys.
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