Supreme Court Delivers Controversial Protection for Pharmaceutical Companies

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of pharmaceutical companies that manufacture generic drugs. The court threw out the case of Pliva Inc. vs. Mensing, a lawsuit that resulted from two patients having major adverse reactions to metoclopramide, the generic version of Reglan.

The patients, Gladys Mensing and Julie Demahy, developed tardive dyskinesia, a severe neurological disorder, after taking metoclopramide, a generic form of the drug Reglan for digestive problems, including acid reflux. They sued, alleging that the drug maker failed to warn them of the danger of taking this drug for more than 12 weeks. Studies had suggested a potentially increased risk of the condition — and Reglan was eventually required to carry a “black box” warning about it. That wasn’t the case at the time.

In tossing out their claims in Pliva Inc. vs. Mensing, Thomas put the blame on “the special, and different, regulation of generic drugs.”

They are supposed to be copy-cat versions of the original, he said, so the makers cannot be sued for failing to give patients new and different warnings as they develop.

Consumer rights activits were upset at the ruling, saying that “the ruling stripped many Americans of an important legal right. “Three out of four patients just lost the right to sue” if they use a generic drug and suffer complications for which they were not warned…” [Source]

You can read the complete story on The Los Angeles Times website.