Over the years there have been, what can be referred to as, trusted brands when it comes to medication. However, with the introduction of generic drugs this can result in confusion on the part of the patient as well as harm. When a patient suffers harm as a result of a prescription drug issues of liability are raised. As a result, the question as to which manufacturer is held liable comes to the fore. This article will discuss when drug manufacturers can be held liable for personal injury cases.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a generic drug is defined as “a medication created to be the same as an existing approved brand-name drug in dosage, form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, and performance characteristics”. This basically means that ‘generic drugs work in the exact same way and provide the same clinical benefits as its brand-name version’. So how then can a drug manufacturer be held liable for harm sustained by consumer?
One theory that can be applicable when it comes to genetic drugs, is referred to as innovator liability. The basic reasoning behind this theory is that a brand-name drug manufacturer may be held liable for injuries that may have been caused by the use of a generic drug. This is mainly because it is said that the victim is in a lesser position to prove the source of injury as compared to the drug manufacturer. Some courts have even taken it a step further by holding that the victim is able to sue a brand-name manufacturer for a generic product even though they did not produce the drug. It must be noted though that this theory has historically been largely unsuccessful.
One reason why a brand-name manufacturer could be held liable for product liability claims is as a result of insufficient warning. This is because according to federal law, generic manufacturers use the same warning on their products as those attached to the brand name drug. One Supreme Court case in 2011 showed that the generic manufacturers do not have control over their own warning labels; as a result, they could not be sued for problems that were linked to the warning labels. In the recent case of Mutual Pharmaceuticals v. Bartlett, the Supreme Court upheld this logic and the plaintiff was awarded $21 million in damages after the plaintiff lost the majority of their skin tissue, developed esophageal and lung damage and became legally blind after using a generic prescription drug.
Reports have been made by medical experts stating that more than 80% of prescription drugs that are filed in the United States are generic drugs. As a result, it is important for consumers to be able to hold someone responsible for the injuries they sustain from the use of these drugs. Because the law is ever-changing it is important that patients who suffer injury from taking generic prescription drugs understand their rights. Therefore, it is important to speak to a personal injury lawyer well versed in products liability as well as car accident property damage.