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Makers of Generic Drugs off the Hook?

Roberts Wilson, P.A. | June 26, 2011

Consumers lose to BIG corporations at the United States Supreme Court. The bottom line: Generic Drug Makers do not  always have to warn you about dangerous side effects and you cannot always sue Generic Drug Makers for failing to warn you about those dangerous side effects if you get hurt.

The legal theory/reality that lead to this strange outcome is called Federal Preemption. Basically, it means Federal Law trumps state law when they are in conflict. In Pilva v. Mensing, the United States Supreme Court found a conflict between the state law requiring drug companies to warn about dangerous side effects in their labels and the Federal Law that forbids the unilateral changing of a label by the Drug Maker if new side effects are discovered.

The Majority found that this conflict in the law put Generic Drug Makers in a pickle because they could not comply with both state and federal laws. The Supreme Court of the United States resolved the issue by ruling that the Makers of Generic Drugs do not have to do any more than the brand name manufacturers when it comes to labeling. This leads to the to the unfortunate conclusion that a person  who was injured by the more expensive brand named drug can sue but the the person who was injured by the cheaper, more often prescribed generic drug cannot.

You can read more about this United States Supreme Court decision in Adam Liptack’s New York Times article, Drug Makers Win Two Supreme Court Decisions by clicking here. You can also write to your Congressmen and Senators to ask that they resolve this conflict between state and federal law in favor of Humans and not Corporations!