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Greg Conko: Can brand makers be sued for generic drug injuries?

Gregory Conko, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, asked an important question in a piece published on our sister blog Medical Progress Today. Who should be liable when a patient is injured by a generic drug?

In a case called Conte v. Wyeth, a California Intermediate Appellate Court in San Francisco held that, since plaintiffs can't sue a generic manufacturer for negligent failure to warn, then they should be able to sue the innovator manufacturer who had some control over the contested labeling -- even if the patient didn't take the innovator's product, and even if the innovator is no longer manufacturing the off-patent drug and therefore no longer keeping its labeling up to date.

Conko tackles the "reasonably foreseeable" theory that emerged from the Conte decision and discusses the potential implications that the broad adoption of such tort theory can have on innovation. While the analysis doesn't call for a particular legal solution, Conko provides insight into a potential Supreme Court issue.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.