Monday, January 14, 2013

Alabama Supreme Court: Pifzer Suit Involving a Generic Drug May Proceed

(Hat tip to Pharmalot, link below)

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled last week that a lawsuit against Pfizer by a man who claimed he was injured by a generic version of its Reglan heartburn medicine may proceed. The reason? The brand-name drugmaker purportedly failed to warn his physician about the risks.
In that case, Weeks took Reglan and developed tardive dyskinesia. Although he took only generics, Weeks accused Wyeth, which sold Reglan and is now owned by Pfizer as well as two generic drugmakers – Teva Pharmaceuticals and Actavis – of failing to warn of the risk of long-term use.
At issue was whether Weeks could press his lawsuit against Pfizer, a question that a federal court asked the Alabama Supreme Court to decide. In its ruling, the Alabama court wrote that “an omission or defect in the labeling for the brand-name drug would necessarily be repeated in the generic labeling, foreseeably causing harm to a patient who ingested the generic product.”
The issue for the Court: Under Alabama law, may a drug company be held liable for fraud or misrepresentation based on statements that it made in connection with the manufacturing of a brand name drug, by a plaintiff alleging injury from a generic drug maker, and distributed by a different company? 
We'll be digesting this opinion and commenting on it later this week. The ramifications, however, are far potentiall far reaching.  
Here's the opinion in PDF format: