Monday, October 27, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Pharmaceutical Preemption Case

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- In Drug Case, Justices to Weigh Right to Sue, by Alicia Mundy and Shirley S. Wang.  Here's an excerpt:

For nearly a century, Americans have been able to sue drug companies for deaths or injuries caused by medicines. Now the pharmaceutical industry and other big businesses are hoping the Supreme Court will sharply curb that right.

In a case called Wyeth v. Levine, which the court will hear next week, a Vermont guitarist named Diana Levine lost an arm to gangrene caused by an improperly administered nausea drug. A Vermont jury awarded her $6.7 million in damages from Wyeth, accepting her argument that the drug maker should have put stronger warnings on the label.

In its appeal of the verdict, the drug maker says the drug's label was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and it argues the federal regulator's judgment should trump state law on issues of product safety. Many lawsuits are based on state consumer-safety regulations that often are stronger than federal standards.


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