Generic drugs comprise 80% of all of the prescriptions filled in the United States. These generic drugs generate approximately $53 billion dollars in revenue. Unlike brand manufacturers, generic drug manufacturers have no duty to disclose new safety risks pertaining to their drugs when such risks become known. Brand manufacturers are required to update their warning labels upon learning of new safety risks or hazards associated with their drugs. Why should generic drug manufacturers be treated any differently?
In 2011, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Pliva v. Mensing that generic drug manufacturers cannot be held responsible for injuries caused by their failure to warn about safety risks associated with their generic drugs. Sometimes, these generic drug manufacturers are the biggest or only manufacturer of a particular drug. The Mensing decision protects generic drug manufacturers from being held accountable for failing to warn about potential hazards associated with the use of their drugs.
A young lady named Kira Gilbert is one of many examples of why generic drug manufacturers should be held accountable. Kira, who was 22 years old at the time, took a generic pain medication prescribed by her doctor for a few days prior to undergoing knee surgery. The drug was the generic version of Darvocet, which was eventually removed from the market because it posed a significant safety hazard. Kira Gilbert died from cardiac failure caused by her taking the generic drug. Unfortunately, her family was unable to hold the manufacturer of the generic drug responsible for Kira’s death because of the Mensing decision.
In its ruling in the Mensing case, the Supreme Court left it to Congress to change the law and hold generic drug manufacturers accountable for their drugs’ safety. Having represented victims who suffered serious injuries or died after taking unsafe drugs, the attorneys at Suthers & Harper believe Congress needs to amend the law and require both generic and brand manufacturers to be responsible for warning consumers about their drugs’ safety. Consumers can help in this campaign by sending messages to their members of Congress, urging them to hold generic drug manufacturers accountable for their drugs’ safety.