Product Liability – Restore Legal Rights to Victims of Generic Drug Gain Support Amongst Attorney Generals Across US
May 29, 2012
A group representing state Attorneys General across the country has backed a proposed Senate bill that would allow the makers of generic prescription drugs to update safety labels on their products if they become aware of new dangers and side effects from taking them.
According to a statement from the National Association of Attorneys General NAAG, the bill proposed by Senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken would give all users of prescription drugs the same legal rights if they suffer a side effect from taking it that’s not expressly noted on safety information included with the drug. Under current federal law, makers of generic drugs are blocked from updating the safety labels on the copies of name-brand drugs they manufacture and distribute until the company that makes the name-brand drug makes changes. If a patient is prescribed or dispensed a generic drug and suffers a side effect, they are unable to file any legal actions against the makers of the generic drug, which is exempted from facing lawsuits for hiding side effects of that drug.
This law gained attention when the Supreme Court was presented with the case PLIVA Inc. vs. Mensing in which the high court ruled that federal law only granting permission to makers of name-brand drugs to independently update the safety labels on drugs prevented those who’ve been injured by generic prescription drugs from seeking any legal actions against the makers of it.
NAAG states that more than 70 percent of all prescriptions filled in the U.S. are for generic drugs and that’s likely to increase as patents for top-selling drugs expire, as the one for the cholesterol drug Plavix has recently done. In that case, seven companies have been permitted to make copies of Plavix to be sold under its generic name.