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News & Politics News & Politics

Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits

Posted by on Jul. 11, 2013 at 11:49 AM
  • 15 Replies


July 7, 2013

Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits

 July 7, 2013. Washington. In case readers missed it with all the coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder trial and the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act, the US Supreme Court also made a ruling on lawsuits against drug companies for fraud, mislabeling, side effects and accidental death. From now on, 80 percent of all drugs are exempt from legal liability.

Drug companies failed to warn patients that toxic epidermal necrolysis was a side effect. But the Supreme Court ruled they're still not liable for damages.

In a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling and award for the victim of a pharmaceutical drug’s adverse reaction. According to the victim and the state courts, the drug caused a flesh-eating side effect that left the patient permanently disfigured over most of her body. The adverse reaction was hidden by the drug maker and later forced to be included on all warning labels. But the highest court in the land ruled that the victim had no legal grounds to sue the corporation because its drugs are exempt from lawsuits.



Karen Bartlett vs. Mutual Pharmaceutical Company

In 2004, Karen Bartlett was prescribed the generic anti-inflammatory drug Sulindac, manufactured by Mutual Pharmaceutical, for her sore shoulder. Three weeks after taking the drug, Bartlett began suffering from a disease called, ‘toxic epidermal necrolysis’. The condition is extremely painful and causes the victim’s skin to peel off, exposing raw flesh in the same manner as a third degree burn victim.

Karen Bartlett sued Mutual Pharma in New Hampshire state court, arguing that the drug company included no warning about the possible side effect. A court agreed and awarded her $21 million. The FDA went on to force both Mutual, as well as the original drug manufacturer Merck & Co., to include the side effect on the two drugs’ warning labels going forward.

Now, nine years after the tragedy began, the US Supreme Court overturned the state court’s verdict and award. Justices cited the fact that all generic drugs and their manufacturers, some 80% of all drugs consumed in the United States, are exempt from liability for side effects, mislabeling or virtually any other negative reactions caused by their drugs. In short, the Court ruled that the FDA has ultimate authority over pharmaceuticals in the US. And if the FDA says a drug is safe, that takes precedent over actual facts, real victims and any and all adverse reactions.

Court ruling

The Court’s ruling a week ago on behalf of generic drug makers is actually a continuation of a ruling made by the same Court in 2011. At that time, the Justices ruled that the original inventors and manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs, also known as ‘name brand’ drugs, are the only ones that can be sued for mislabeling, fraud or adverse drug reactions and side effects. If the generic versions of the drugs are made from the exact same formula and labeled with the exact same warnings as their brand name counterparts, the generics and their manufacturers were not liable.

The Court ruled, “Because it is impossible for Mutual and other similarly situated manufacturers to comply with both state and federal law, New Hampshire's warning-based design-defect cause of action is pre-empted with respect to FDA-approved drugs sold in interstate commerce."

And that ruling flies in the face of both common sense and justice. And as Karen Bartlett can now attest, it leaves 240 million Americans unprotected from the deadly and torturous side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. As a reminder, the number one cause of preventable or accidental death in the US is pharmaceutical drugs.


The news shouldn't be left wing or right wing, conservative or liberal. It should be the news. It should be independent - Whiteout Press


Critics react

Immediately upon the Supreme Court’s ruling, both drug manufacturers and Wall Street investors were celebrating. As one financial analyst pointed out, drug company profits should skyrocket going forward. Not only do the pharmaceutical companies no longer have to worry about safety or side effects, they are exempt from the multi-million dollar court-imposed settlements awarded to victims of their drugs.

One industry critic was quoted by Reuters after the verdict. "Today's court decision provides a disincentive for generic makers of drugs to monitor safety of their products and to make sure that they have a surveillance system in place to detect adverse events that pose a threat to patients," Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group told the news outlet.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was quick to react to the ruling by writing a stern letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, "A consumer should not have her rights foreclosed simply because she takes the generic version of a prescription drug.”

But an attorney for the drug companies, Jay P. Lefkowitz, took the opposing position saying, “It makes much more sense to rely on the judgments of the scientific and medical experts at the FDA, who look at drug issues for the nation at large, than those of a single state court jury that only has in front of it the terribly unfortunate circumstances of an adverse drug reaction."

In other words, if the FDA says something is safe, it doesn’t matter if that decision is wrong or the result of lies, fraud or deception on the part of the world’s pharmaceutical companies. And there’s no way to sue the FDA for being wrong and costing millions of unsuspecting Americans their lives. That result leaves 240 million Americans unprotected from an industry responsible for more preventable deaths in the US than any other cause.

 

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


by on Jul. 11, 2013 at 11:49 AM
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Replies (1-10):
SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jul. 11, 2013 at 11:54 AM

That's ironic. I thought the O administration always condemned "Big Pharma."

survivorinohio
by Rene on Jul. 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM


Quoting SallyMJ:

That's ironic. I thought the O administration always condemned "Big Pharma."

The supreme court is no stranger to corporate America where Big Pharma reigns supreme.  We can blame that on every president that has made an appointment to the SCOTUS not just Obama. 

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jul. 11, 2013 at 12:41 PM

I take it in other situations, you also blame Big Labor? Just to be consistent?


Quoting survivorinohio:


Quoting SallyMJ:

That's ironic. I thought the O administration always condemned "Big Pharma."

The supreme court is no stranger to corporate America where Big Pharma reigns supreme.  We can blame that on every president that has made an appointment to the SCOTUS not just Obama. 



survivorinohio
by Rene on Jul. 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM
1 mom liked this

If you are referring to unions and  what they have become then I would say that I am not supportive of what unions have become. 

I am appreciative of many of the things that unions fought for in their inception, like OSHA regulations.

Quoting SallyMJ:

I take it in other situations, you also blame Big Labor? Just to be consistent?


Quoting survivorinohio:


Quoting SallyMJ:

That's ironic. I thought the O administration always condemned "Big Pharma."

The supreme court is no stranger to corporate America where Big Pharma reigns supreme.  We can blame that on every president that has made an appointment to the SCOTUS not just Obama. 




How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jul. 11, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Which private sector businesses have included in their policies for more than 50 years.

Which is why union membership has consistently declined since then.


Quoting survivorinohio:

If you are referring to unions and  what they have become then I would say that I am not supportive of what unions have become. 

I am appreciative of many of the things that unions fought for in their inception, like OSHA regulations.

Quoting SallyMJ:

I take it in other situations, you also blame Big Labor? Just to be consistent?


Quoting survivorinohio:


Quoting SallyMJ:

That's ironic. I thought the O administration always condemned "Big Pharma."

The supreme court is no stranger to corporate America where Big Pharma reigns supreme.  We can blame that on every president that has made an appointment to the SCOTUS not just Obama. 






blues_pagan
by on Jul. 11, 2013 at 7:08 PM
2 moms liked this
This is sad. I am writing my congressmen about this.
143myboys9496
by Gold Member on Jul. 11, 2013 at 7:19 PM
1 mom liked this

 WOW! Way to NOT be held accountable for what you make.

Wow...holy fucking wow...I'm speechless.

joyfree
by Kat on Jul. 12, 2013 at 1:14 AM

 The last OSHA inspection of the West Fertilizer Plant was in 1985. 


Quoting SallyMJ:

Which private sector businesses have included in their policies for more than 50 years.

Which is why union membership has consistently declined since then.


Quoting survivorinohio:

If you are referring to unions and  what they have become then I would say that I am not supportive of what unions have become. 

I am appreciative of many of the things that unions fought for in their inception, like OSHA regulations.

Quoting SallyMJ:

I take it in other situations, you also blame Big Labor? Just to be consistent?


Quoting survivorinohio:


Quoting SallyMJ:

That's ironic. I thought the O administration always condemned "Big Pharma."

The supreme court is no stranger to corporate America where Big Pharma reigns supreme.  We can blame that on every president that has made an appointment to the SCOTUS not just Obama. 








kcangel63
by Amanda on Jul. 12, 2013 at 1:48 AM
1 mom liked this
Sounds about right. Big Pharma and the Government. The biggest whores in the US.
SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jul. 12, 2013 at 3:08 PM

I am talking about the 99.99999% of businesses who have implemented quality guidelines in all aspects of the business - including many of the guidelines established by unions over the past 100 years. 

As you know, this fertilizer company DID NOT FOLLOW THEIR OWN SAFETY GUIDELINES.  They had the law but they did not abide by it. That is negligence, not the absence of a safety rule.

What do you think about airlines - ALL UNIONIZED - that have crashes, or where inadequate safety guidelines lead to hijacking, flight attendant and/or pilot murders - eg, 9/11. Or the recent crash at SFO, Ajira, Ashira, (sp?) where it appears to be pilot error. The pilot did not follow the flying and safety policies for the 777.

What about the unionized  companies where someone falls into the machinery or has a finger or arm torn off?

What about unionized governmental officials who commit gross negligence in following ethical guidelines (IRS targeting certain Americans due to politics or religion? And in acting to the benefit of Americans in foreign embassies (eg, Benghazi)? And violating privacy of Americans? Who apparently are above the law and the American people?

Or unionized companies that have plant accidents?

And teachers unions where the teachers are taken away from teaching children to engage in strikes called by the unions to try and extort things from the people?

What about companies where the unions purposely cause work stoppages to attempt to obtain increased benefits that they end up not receving after 4 months of strikes, where employees are necessarily out of work for multiple months, and they lose out on multiple months of pay?  And what about the union employees directing that strike who - unlike the employees who lose their pay - continue to receive their 7 figure salaries.

I think you get my drift.


Quoting joyfree:

 The last OSHA inspection of the West Fertilizer Plant was in 1985. 


Quoting SallyMJ:

Which private sector businesses have included in their policies for more than 50 years.

Which is why union membership has consistently declined since then.


Quoting survivorinohio:

If you are referring to unions and  what they have become then I would say that I am not supportive of what unions have become. 

I am appreciative of many of the things that unions fought for in their inception, like OSHA regulations.

Quoting SallyMJ:

I take it in other situations, you also blame Big Labor? Just to be consistent?


Quoting survivorinohio:


Quoting SallyMJ:

That's ironic. I thought the O administration always condemned "Big Pharma."

The supreme court is no stranger to corporate America where Big Pharma reigns supreme.  We can blame that on every president that has made an appointment to the SCOTUS not just Obama. 










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