SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, PagerDuty Blog, Michael Jannery, Javier Paniza

News Feed Item

Heninger Garrison Davis Clients To Get Their Day in Court Against Brand Drug Companies

Alabama Supreme Court decision is an important win for patients in cases involving prescription drugs

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alabama Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision on August 15, 2014, re-affirmed that patients can sue drug makers who mislead doctors into believing that prescription medicines the companies market do not cause harmful side‑effects.  The case is Weeks v. Wyeth, and the decision came after the Supreme Court ruled against the drug makers in that same case last year. Heninger Garrison Davis attorneys Lew Garrison and Chris Hood represent the patient in the case, Danny Weeks.

The decision won a clear majority of the Alabama Supreme Court. Six of the nine justices voted for it. Associate Justice Michael F. Bolin authored the decision, joined by Associate Justices Stuart, Main, Wise, and Bryan, and including Associate Justice Shaw, who fully concurred and specially wrote to address responses to the earlier decision in the case.

Weeks' attorney Lew Garrison stated, "We agree with the decision, and we're very pleased that Danny and his wife Vicki will get their day in court. It's a victory for patients." Mr. Weeks was hurt by the brand makers of the drug Reglan, according to the suit.

The decision allows patients injured by prescription drugs to sue when their doctors are deceived, including when a pharmacist fills the prescription with a generic replica of the prescribed drug.  Mr. Weeks received a generic replica of Reglan, as allowed by law. The law allowing the substitution, in Alabama and in all other states, requires the federal Food and Drug Administration to first approve the generic tablet as a bioequivalent replacement for the brand name drug. The substitution ensures that the patient receives the same medicine, not a different medicine. The makers of the branded drug furnish the information about it and are responsible by law for the information, including updating it to warn of significant risks to patients. The U.S. Supreme Court clearly confirmed that responsibility of branded drug companies in PLIVA v. Mensing, a landmark decision in 2011.

The facts of generic substitution for branded drugs are foreseeable and well known by everyone who works with prescription medicines -- doctors, pharmacists, and the brand defendants in the Weeks case. The brand defendants made Reglan and, according to the lawsuit, created the information about it which misled Danny Week's doctor, leading to the severe injury.

Weeks suffered a permanent and disabling neurological injury. He alleges that doctors who prescribed the brand drug were misled about the side-effects, and the deceit hurt him.

National media have covered the case. The Wall Street Journal, in reporting the first decision in it last year, explained the allegation that Weeks' doctor "relied on the representations made by the name brand manufacturer to assess the risks [of the drug]." The WSJ reported that "[a] brand name manufacturer could 'reasonably foresee' that a physician would rely on its warning label 'even if the patient ultimately consumed the generic version of the drug,' Justice Bolin wrote."

This victory for patients also is positive for doctors, who are owed a duty of truth by companies which promote the drugs the doctors prescribe. "Telling the truth about these drugs allows doctors to make good choices about which medicines to prescribe," according to Weeks' other attorney, Chris Hood.  "When the truth is concealed, patients are hurt, which happened here."

The decision for Weeks is not an outlier, contrary to the view of some commentators. It rests on settled Alabama law, and other courts have ruled the same way, including the federal court which certified the question to the Alabama Supreme Court. Three other federal courts applying the laws of other states likewise have ruled against branded drug companies in favor of patients hurt by generic substitute drugs. Three state appeals courts have addressed the same question, and two of them -- in California and now in Alabama -- sided with the patients against makers of the brand drug.  Alabama thus joins a number of other state and federal courts which permit this type of suit.

The similar federal decisions are recent.  They are Colas v. Abbvie, Inc., 2014 WL 2699756 at *3 (N.D. Ill. June 13, 2014) (ruling under Virginia law for a patient who, like Danny Weeks, was dispensed a generic substitute drug and sued a brand defendant for fraud); Dolin v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 2014 WL 804458 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 28, 2014) (ruling under Illinois law for a generic‑ingesting patient against brand defendant), mandamus denied, In re GlaxoSmithKline, LLC, 2014 WL 2506461 (7th Cir. June 4, 2014); Kellogg v. Wyeth, 762 F. Supp. 2d 694, 700 (D. Vt. 2010) (ruling under Vermont law for a generic‑ingesting patient against brand defendant).

The California decision in favor of patients is Conte v. Wyeth, Inc., 168 Cal. App. 4th 89, 85 Cal. Rptr. 3d 299 (2008) (ruling for a generic-ingesting patient under California law).  The  other state appellate decision on the question is Huck v. Wyeth, Inc., 2014 WL 3377071 (Iowa July 11, 2014), which was decided for the branded drug companies.  Huck is a plurality decision, not a majority opinion, so it is not precedent even for Iowa courts, according to the Iowa Supreme Court.  Audubon‑Exira Ready Mix, Inc. v. Illinois Cent. Gulf R. Co., 335 N.W.2d 148, 151 (Iowa 1983)  (plurality decisions are not precedent).

W. Lewis Garrison, Jr., is a senior partner of Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and Christopher B. Hood is an associate attorney of HGD.  They represent Danny and Vicki Weeks.  HGD has offices in Atlanta, Birmingham, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, and metropolitan Washington, D.C.  Our attorneys are leaders in national cases involving prescription drugs and medical devices.

Contact:
Stacy Smith
[email protected]
Heninger Garrison Davis
2224 1st Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
(205) 326-3336

SOURCE Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, focused on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud platfo...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by your analysts and designers, and the resulting application built by your developers, there is a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral out of control, and applications fall short of requirements. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a new approach where business and development users collaborate – each using tools appropriate to their goals and expertise – to build mo...
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immed...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using ...
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For the past 4 years we have been working mainly to export. For the last 3 or 4 years the main market was Russia. In the past year we have been working to expand our footprint in Europe and the United States," explained Andris Gailitis, CEO of DEAC, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
At 15th Cloud Expo, Shrikant Pattathil, Executive Vice President at Harbinger Systems, demos a video delivery platform that helps you do interactive videos. He discusses how Harbinger is accomplishing it in the cloud world, the problems they faced and the choices they made to get around these problems.
“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.