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[News] Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits
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Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits
Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits

July 7, 2013. Washington. In case readers missed it with all the coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder trial and the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act, the US Supreme Court also made a ruling on lawsuits against drug companies for fraud, mislabeling, side effects and accidental death. From now on, 80 percent of all drugs are exempt from legal liability.

In a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling and award for the victim of a pharmaceutical drug’s adverse reaction. According to the victim and the state courts, the drug caused a flesh-eating side effect that left the patient permanently disfigured over most of her body. The adverse reaction was hidden by the drug maker and later forced to be included on all warning labels. But the highest court in the land ruled that the victim had no legal grounds to sue the corporation because its drugs are exempt from lawsuits.

[Image: 25767172fc4184582f5edb82108782a8.jpg]
Drug companies failed to warn patients that toxic
epidermal necrolysis was a side effect. But the
Supreme Court ruled they're still not liable for damages.


Karen Bartlett vs. Mutual Pharmaceutical Company

In 2004, Karen Bartlett was prescribed the generic anti-inflammatory drug Sulindac, manufactured by Mutual Pharmaceutical, for her sore shoulder. Three weeks after taking the drug, Bartlett began suffering from a disease called, ‘toxic epidermal necrolysis’. The condition is extremely painful and causes the victim’s skin to peel off, exposing raw flesh in the same manner as a third degree burn victim.

Karen Bartlett sued Mutual Pharma in New Hampshire state court, arguing that the drug company included no warning about the possible side effect. A court agreed and awarded her $21 million. The FDA went on to force both Mutual, as well as the original drug manufacturer Merck & Co., to include the side effect on the two drugs’ warning labels going forward.

Now, nine years after the tragedy began, the US Supreme Court overturned the state court’s verdict and award. Justices cited the fact that all generic drugs and their manufacturers, some 80% of all drugs consumed in the United States, are exempt from liability for side effects, mislabeling or virtually any other negative reactions caused by their drugs. In short, the Court ruled that the FDA has ultimate authority over pharmaceuticals in the US. And if the FDA says a drug is safe, that takes precedent over actual facts, real victims and any and all adverse reactions.

Court ruling

The Court’s ruling a week ago on behalf of generic drug makers is actually a continuation of a ruling made by the same Court in 2011. At that time, the Justices ruled that the original inventors and manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs, also known as ‘name brand’ drugs, are the only ones that can be sued for mislabeling, fraud or adverse drug reactions and side effects. If the generic versions of the drugs are made from the exact same formula and labeled with the exact same warnings as their brand name counterparts, the generics and their manufacturers were not liable.

The Court ruled, “Because it is impossible for Mutual and other similarly situated manufacturers to comply with both state and federal law, New Hampshire's warning-based design-defect cause of action is pre-empted with respect to FDA-approved drugs sold in interstate commerce."

And that ruling flies in the face of both common sense and justice. And as Karen Bartlett can now attest, it leaves 240 million Americans unprotected from the deadly and torturous side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. As a reminder, the number one cause of preventable or accidental death in the US is pharmaceutical drugs.

The news shouldn't be left wing or right wing, conservative or liberal. It should be the news. It should be independent - Whiteout Press

Critics react


Immediately upon the Supreme Court’s ruling, both drug manufacturers and Wall Street investors were celebrating. As one financial analyst pointed out, drug company profits should skyrocket going forward. Not only do the pharmaceutical companies no longer have to worry about safety or side effects, they are exempt from the multi-million dollar court-imposed settlements awarded to victims of their drugs.

One industry critic was quoted by Reuters after the verdict. "Today's court decision provides a disincentive for generic makers of drugs to monitor safety of their products and to make sure that they have a surveillance system in place to detect adverse events that pose a threat to patients," Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group told the news outlet.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was quick to react to the ruling by writing a stern letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, "A consumer should not have her rights foreclosed simply because she takes the generic version of a prescription drug.”

But an attorney for the drug companies, Jay P. Lefkowitz, took the opposing position saying, “It makes much more sense to rely on the judgments of the scientific and medical experts at the FDA, who look at drug issues for the nation at large, than those of a single state court jury that only has in front of it the terribly unfortunate circumstances of an adverse drug reaction."

In other words, if the FDA says something is safe, it doesn’t matter if that decision is wrong or the result of lies, fraud or deception on the part of the world’s pharmaceutical companies. And there’s no way to sue the FDA for being wrong and costing millions of unsuspecting Americans their lives. That result leaves 240 million Americans unprotected from an industry responsible for more preventable deaths in the US than any other cause.

Fair use from:
http://www.whiteoutpress.com/articles/q3...-lawsuits/


The above post may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material available is intended to advance the understanding of Sleep Apnea treatment and to advance the educational level of Sleep Apnea patients with regard to their health. Sometimes included is the full text of articles and documents rather than a simple link because outside links frequently "go bad" or change over time. This constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this post is distributed without fee or payment of any kind for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this post for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
07-10-2013 02:55 PM
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PollCat Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits
If the givernment won't protect us from "bad" drugs, who will????? Oh-jeez Dont-know
07-10-2013 03:05 PM
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Post: #3
RE: Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits
(07-10-2013 03:05 PM)PollCat Wrote:  If the givernment won't protect us from "bad" drugs, who will????? Oh-jeez Dont-know

Our dollars will... more specifically, the lack of them flowing their way.

In theory at least.
07-10-2013 04:20 PM
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Post: #4
RE: Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits
(07-10-2013 04:20 PM)Paptillian Wrote:  Our dollars will... more specifically, the lack of them flowing their way.

In theory at least.

If I understand both the article and you correctly, you are suggesting that people forgo the cheaper generic versions of drugs in favor of the more expensive name-brand versions?

It is certainly an interesting tradeoff: pay more for name-brand drugs as "insurance" against wanting to sue the drug manufacturer.
07-10-2013 04:49 PM
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Post: #5
RE: Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits
(07-10-2013 04:49 PM)RonWessels Wrote:  
(07-10-2013 04:20 PM)Paptillian Wrote:  Our dollars will... more specifically, the lack of them flowing their way.

In theory at least.

If I understand both the article and you correctly, you are suggesting that people forgo the cheaper generic versions of drugs in favor of the more expensive name-brand versions?

It is certainly an interesting tradeoff: pay more for name-brand drugs as "insurance" against wanting to sue the drug manufacturer.

Ignoring the article, I was meaning that we vote with our money. At least in theory, we can regulate our markets by choosing not to buy bad products.

Of course, having someone test them before hand means less chance of an unsuspecting person becoming a guinea pig. Though that has to happen in clinical trials, anyway... at least there's consent.
07-10-2013 05:27 PM
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Post: #6
RE: Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits
This court ruling is appalling.

On a tangent, aren't the pharmacies supposed to print out information sheets with side effects for the prescription drugs they sell you? I thought that was the law. Do the generic drugs have different side effects that the brand name drugs?

Regardless of the answers, I'm still appalled. Lots of things the government does disappoints me but this ruling by the Supreme Court is terrible.
07-10-2013 06:57 PM
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Post: #7
RE: Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits
Apparently this problem needs liberal dose of hot pine tar....applied to the elected/appointed officials!
(followed up by chicken feathers and the traditional "Free trip outta town on a rail" )

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07-11-2013 02:21 PM
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