Supreme Court Hands Two Victories to Big Pharma
Posted by: Reuben Guttman On: June 28th, 2011 | Number of Comments: Comments Off
In two decisions, the United States Supreme Court has extended protections and rights to an industry that has preyed on the American public.
The Court’s holdings in Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc. (June 23, 2011) struck down a Vermont Law, which had precluded the sale of prescription data to pharmaceutical companies for the purposes of “detailing” doctors. In Pliva v. Mensing (June 23, 2011), the Court carved out an exception to its holding in Wyeth v. Levine, opining that generic drug manufacturers cannot be held liable for package inserts that fail to provide a complete warning about side effects. In Wyeth, the Court held that brand name manufacturers could be held liable where their package inserts did not provide complete information or where the information was otherwise deficient.
The Sorrell holding is unfortunate, as a host of cases initiated by whistleblowers over the past decade has exposed pharmaceutical companies for using prescription data to cherry pick doctors intended for “detailing.” The Pliva holding will bar victims of problematic drugs from seeking any relief from manufacturers. And because the ruling applies only to generic drugs, consumers may choose higher costing brand name drugs in order to maintain the protections of Wyeth. 6-28-11
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