September 3, 2013

Alabama Court Revisits ‘Innovator Liability’

The Alabama Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal that could have huge implications for drug makers, reports Legal Newsline.  Before the court is the issue of ‘innovator liability,’ the legal theory that brand-name drug makers can be held liable for generic versions of their drugs.

In January, the court ruled that a plaintiff who took the generic version of Wyeth’s heartburn drug Reglan can sue Pfizer (which acquired Wyeth in 2009).  A Wall Street Journal editorial explains the drawbacks of the innovator liability theory:

The court’s judgment contradicts decades of Alabama tort and product liability precedent. In his dissent, Justice Glenn Mourdock wrote that the “bedrock principles” of tort law require that the law must create a climate that encourages innovation within a system of risk and reward. He added that the notion that “parties are responsible for their own products, not those of others, are so organic to western economic and legal thought that they rarely find need of expression.”

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