Friday, November 21, 2008

Put the Blame on the Generics

If you take medications and something goes wrong, you blame either the doctor for wrong prescription or the maker for any misrepresentation or improper labeling.

If the doctor has no fault, then the blame devolves on the maker or the manufacturer. The liability is clear when something happens to a patient who is using or taking the product. As we all know, a manufacturer may be held liable for injuries incurred by consumers under the doctrine of product liability.

However, in the case of Conte vs. Wyeth, the outcome is different.

In this case, Plaintiff Elizabeth Conte (Conte) developed a rare and serious neurological side effect due to her long-term consumption of metoclopramide. Metoclopramide is the generic counterpart of Reglan, developed by Wyeth.

She alleged that Wyeth failed to adequately warn Reglan’s known dangers resulting from its use for more than the recommended twelve weeks.

When Conte filed a case against Wyeth, the trial court dismissed the same but the appeal court reversed. The court of appeal ruled that Wyeth is liable based on the foreseeability of the harm its product could bring.

With due respect, I disagree with the ruling. The plaintiff never ingested Reglan in the first place. Wyeth could never be held responsible for plaintiff’s taking Metoclopramide and experiencing serious effects in the process.

In effect, Wyeth or any manufacturer for that matter is being held accountable for any flaw that a generic brand may have.

Is this not unfair? I just hope the California Supreme Court would rule otherwise.