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updated: 3/20/2013 6:21 AM

Patients' generic-drug lawsuits questioned by U.S. Supreme Court

Patients' generic-drug lawsuits questioned by U.S. Supreme Court

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  • The U.S. Supreme Court grappled with the limits on patients' lawsuits against drugmakers, questioning a $21 million award to a woman who suffered debilitating injuries after taking a painkiller.

      The U.S. Supreme Court grappled with the limits on patients' lawsuits against drugmakers, questioning a $21 million award to a woman who suffered debilitating injuries after taking a painkiller.

 
Bloomberg News

The U.S. Supreme Court grappled with the limits on patients' lawsuits against drugmakers, questioning a $21 million award to a woman who suffered debilitating injuries after taking a painkiller.

Hearing arguments today in Washington, the justices debated whether to reinforce a two-year-old ruling that shielded generic-drug companies from claims that they failed to warn about possibly dangerous side effects.

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Drug companies say a federal appeals court blasted a hole in that ruling by upholding the $21 million award against a Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. unit. The lower court said the patient, Karen L. Bartlett, was pressing a different legal theory, focusing on the dangerousness of the drug itself rather than the adequacy of the warning.

A ruling in favor of generic companies might also benefit brand-name drugmakers.

The case is Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett, 12-142.

--Editors: Laurie Asseo, Steven Komarow

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohrbloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1bloomberg.net

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