Welcome!

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
With more than 30 Kubernetes solutions in the marketplace, it's tempting to think Kubernetes and the vendor ecosystem has solved the problem of operationalizing containers at scale or of automatically managing the elasticity of the underlying infrastructure that these solutions need to be truly scalable. Far from it. There are at least six major pain points that companies experience when they try to deploy and run Kubernetes in their complex environments. In this presentation, the speaker will d...
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations might...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it's important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. "Fly two mistakes high" is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Le...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
CI/CD is conceptually straightforward, yet often technically intricate to implement since it requires time and opportunities to develop intimate understanding on not only DevOps processes and operations, but likely product integrations with multiple platforms. This session intends to bridge the gap by offering an intense learning experience while witnessing the processes and operations to build from zero to a simple, yet functional CI/CD pipeline integrated with Jenkins, Github, Docker and Azure...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Dhiraj Sehgal works in Delphix's product and solution organization. His focus has been DevOps, DataOps, private cloud and datacenters customers, technologies and products. He has wealth of experience in cloud focused and virtualized technologies ranging from compute, networking to storage. He has spoken at Cloud Expo for last 3 years now in New York and Santa Clara.
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-centricity. Traditionally, they focused on digitizing processes and paper workflow. To be a disruptor and compete against new players, they need to gain insight into business data and innovate at scale. Cloud and cognitive technologies can help them leverage hidden data in SAP/ERP systems to fuel their businesses to accelerate digital transformation success.
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.