FDA Drug Approval Is Not A Shield From Lawsuits – Supreme Court Rules

In one of the most important cases in years for injured plaintiffs, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a drug company is not protected from injury claims in state court merely because the federal government had approved the product and its labeling.

The 6-to-3 ruling went in favor of a Vermont musician, Diana Levine, who was awarded more than $6 million after losing much of her arm following a botched injection of an anti-nausea drug. It was a defeat for the pharmaceutical company, which had asked the justices to throw out the award, and by extension other companies that might have pursued Wyeth’s line of argument in similar cases. 

This decision has destroyed the drug companies defense that failure to warn claims were barred by federal preemption.  The case marks a great victory for the rights of injured people.  Read the Levine decision here.