Public Justice Defends Rights of Generic Drug Victims in California Supreme Court
by Leslie A. Brueckner
The California Supreme Court has taken up an issue of enormous importance to victims of inadequately labeled prescription drugs: whether a brand-name drug company can be sued for negligently misrepresenting the dangers of a generic version of its drug.
The case, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc., could literally affect millions of people, both in terms of their ability to obtain compensation for their injuries and, more fundamentally, in terms of their ability to predict the dangers of prescription drugs.
California is one of only a few states that allows suits against brand-name drug manufacturers for injuries caused by generic drugs. This case puts that doctrine to the test. If the California Supreme Court disallows such suits going forward, it could spell disaster for public health and safety, because it will eliminate a powerful incentive for drug manufacturers to ensure the accuracy of their labels.
This case is a vivid example of why it’s important to allow lawsuits against brand-name drug companies for injuries caused by generic drugs.