Innovator risks over generic warnings

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Responding to a federal court question, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a man who claims he was injured by a generic version of Pfizer's Reglan can sue the innovator company for not properly warning his doctor about the drug's risks.

The court said that in the context of inadequate warnings by the brand-name manufacturer put on a prescription drug manufactured by a generic company, it is “not fundamentally unfair to hold the brand-name manufacturer liable for warnings on a product it did not produce.”

An attorney for the patient told media outlets that the “learned intermediary” doctrine applies in this case since under Alabama law companies are to inform doctors about drug risks and the presumption is that if a warning is adequate, then the doctor has warned the patient.

Pfizer told the media that the ruling applies only to Alabama and does not reflect the case's merits or the fact that four federal appeals courts have held that innovator companies aren't liable for injuries to consumers who took generic Reglan.

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