Cases against the manufacturers of brand name Reglan and generic metoclopramide continue to be filed in federal and state courts by Plaintiffs who suffer from Tardive Dyskinesia caused by the drug. At the end of 2009, state courts in Philadelphia became the first to decide to consolidate Reglan litigation in order to streamline the process and conserve judicial resources. Since that time, state courts in New Jersey and California have decided follow suit and act as central “hubs” for Reglan litigation.
In Pennsylvania, the first bellwether trials have been set, and trials are scheduled to go forward beginning in May 2011 through the fall. However, Defendant drug manufacturers are moving to stop further proceedings in Philadelphia that deal with generic manufacturer liability. Recently, the United States Supreme Court decided to hear on appeal two cases dealing with federal preemption of state law tort claims against generic drug manufacturers. Federal preemption is a legal concept that prevents a person from suing on an issue that is addressed by federal law or regulation. In cases against pharmaceutical manufacturers, the Supreme Court held in Wyeth v. Levine (2008) that no federal preemption exists against brand name manufacturers of prescription drugs, however, the issue currently before the Supreme Court is whether or not preemption exists against generic manufacturers.
Since these claims assert that the generic Defendants failed to adequately warn in their label about the risks associated with taking metoclopramide, generic drug makers argue that under current federal law, they are required to have a label that matches that of the brand name, and that the law prevents them from making any changes that would deviate from it. The Supreme Court’s decision on this issue, which is expected in early summer 2011, without a doubt has major implications for the future of all prescription drug litigation in this country. Attorneys representing Plaintiffs in this matter are working diligently to ensure that trial dates are kept on schedule and that litigation all over the country continues to proceed. If you need additional information, contact Danielle Mason, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at Danielle.Mason@beasleyallen.com.
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