FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin
Pharmaceuticals / Regulatory Affairs

West Virginia Says Consumers Can’t Sue Brand-Name Drugmakers for Harm Caused by Generics

May 17, 2018
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West Virginia’s Supreme Court declined to expand the state’s product liability law to cover claims against branded drugs for harm caused by their generics.

The ruling responded to a 2012 lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals over acute respiratory distress syndrome developed by plaintiff Kimmy McNair after taking a generic of J&J’s Levaquin (levofloxacin) manufactured by Dr. Reddy’s.

The U.S. District Court in Charleston ruled that, under state law, a branded manufacturer is not liable for damages caused by a product it did not produce. On appeal, Richmond, Virginia’s 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

In a 3-2 decision, the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that state law let Janssen off the hook.

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