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Alabama Court Rules Man Can Sue Brand Maker for Generic Drug Injuries

Filed January 15th, 2013 admin

The Alabama Supreme Court just ruled that a patient could sue a brand-name company for failing to warn about a drug’s risks even though he had taken a generic version of the product that the company did not make. The Court is also allowing the man to bring a lawsuit against the maker of the generic version of Reglan (metoclopramide).

The Alabama plaintiff, Danny Weeks, claims that he developed the movement disorder, tardive dyskinesia, after taking generic versions of Reglan to treat his acid reflux, The New York Times said. Weeks sued Actavis and Teva, the generic companies that made the drugs he took, as well as Wyeth, which developed the drug, claiming they failed to warn of the risks.

While the decision only applies to Alabama, it will almost certainly be closely read by lawyers who have similar cases pending around the country and whose clients have been barred from filing lawsuits against generic companies because of a recent United States Supreme Court ruling, the Times said. The Alabama Supreme Court ruling flies in the face of a 2011 Supreme Court decision which ruled that generic drug companies could not be sued for failing to warn patients about the risks of taking their drugs because they had no control over what their labels said, the Times wrote.

In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required all manufacturers of metoclopramide to present stronger warnings on their labels pointing out a link between long-term use of the drug and movement disorders, the Times said. Since that warning, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by patients who claim that Wyeth failed to properly warn about Reglan’s risks, according to the Times.

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