Alabama Court Rules Drug Makers Could be Held Accountable

Elise Kramer | April 1st, 2013

Reglan Gavel SmashThe Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that brand name drug manufacturers may be able to be held responsible for the side effects patients experience after using generic versions of the medication, a move which Reglan drug maker Pfizer and a number of other parties are protesting. The initial decision was made in January of this year, with Pfizer and other parties filing a request for a rehearing as of the 19th of February of the same year.

State court rules on accountability

The United States’ Supreme Court decided last year in a case known as Pliva v. Mensing that because generic drug makers are federally required to have warning labels that exactly match the warning labels on their brand name counterparts, this preempts any charges of “failure to warn” that may be brought against the generic companies. In light of this, the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that patients who have suffered side effects after using generic medications, such as generic forms of Reglan, should be able to file suit against the brand name manufacturer of the medication.

The Alabama Supreme Court’s decision involved a plaintiff who had experienced side effects after taking a generic version of the gastrointestinal drug Reglan, which is prescribed in patients who are suffering from nausea, acid reflux, or other recurring gastrointestinal conditions. The plaintiff claims that they began to experience the symptoms of Reglan tardive dyskinesia after they started taking the medication, and continue to suffer from complications of the condition to this day.

Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological movement disorder characterized by involuntary movements in the patient’s facial and limb muscles, which can cause complications in his or her day to day life. There is no cure for tardive dyskinesia, and although symptoms usually do not continue to develop after a patent discontinues their use of the medication, the symptoms that are already present at this time are often permanent.

Reglan lawsuits build in courts

Many plaintiffs who have experienced complications after using Reglan have consulted a Reglan lawyer and filed suit against the manufacturers of the medication. However, patients using the generic version of the drug might not always have that option. The ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court gives hope to patients who have suffered some of the painful side effects associated with the medication, allowing them the possibility that they may somehow gain compensation for their injuries and cover costs related to the side effects they have suffered.