The Vartazarian Law Firm

Brand-name drug makers face product liability cases for generics

California residents and others across the country frequently use generic counterparts of brand-name drugs. In fact, statistics show that generic drugs represent roughly 80 percent of the market in the nation. Manufacturers of generic drugs had been generally protected from litigation. However, some brand-name pharmaceutical makers now must deal with product liability cases over drugs they did not manufacture.

Over the past 50 years, brand-name manufacturers were typically not sued for issues with generic drugs. However, rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 and 2013 provided protection to manufacturers from liabilities for injuries that were caused by generic drugs. This protection afforded to generic drug companies has opened the door for victims to pursue litigation against the brand-name manufacturers.

While industry analysts acknowledge that the majority of cases against brand-name manufacturers are dismissed, there have been several exceptions to this practice. In 2008, an appeals court in California ruled that the manufacturer of a brand-name medication had a certain level of responsibility to people who took the generic equivalent of their drug. A 2016 case held another California pharmaceutical firm liable for injuries that were supposedly caused by a generic version of a brand-name medicine they had manufactured years before. In April 2017, a widow won a $3 million settlement from the manufacturer of Paxil, a popular antidepressant. Her spouse had committed suicide while taking a generic version of the drug.

If someone has suffered injuries or died from taking a drug, whether generic or brand-name, victims or survivors may choose to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. A California personal injury attorney can help someone evaluate a situation and determine how to proceed in the litigation process. An experienced lawyer will work with clients to achieve a successful outcome in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Source:, "Brand-name drugmakers held liable for harm caused by generics", Judy Greenwald, Aug. 7, 2017

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