Reglan Ruling Still Pending in Supreme Court

Sasha Colter | June 2nd, 2011 | Posted in Reglan Lawsuit News

Reglan litigation continues to claim a fair share of attention as Reglan lawyers anxiously await a critical ruling by the Supreme Court. That Reglan lawsuit presents judges with a highly controversial question regarding the appropriate party on which to lay blame for those suffering extreme Reglan side effects.

Depending on the Supreme Court’s ruling, accountability for failure to adequately warn of Reglan side effects could rest with either the brand name manufacturer of the drug or the generic maker of metoclopramide. The answer to this questions is further complicated by whether state or federal law governs the actions of the drugmakers.

Reglan lawsuits consolidated in New Jersey

While the Judicial Panel never issued a federal Reglan multidistrict litigation, individual Reglan lawsuits have been consolidated under Judge Carol E. Higbee of the New Jersey Superior Court. Nearly 1,000 such Reglan lawsuits are in the midst of pretrial discovery awaiting the first trial which Reglan lawyers are hopeful will occur before the end of this year.

Other Reglan lawsuits are being processed separately. Over 300 cases have been brought by Reglan lawyers through Missouri State Court. Still, other Reglan lawsuits are being processed through the federal court system; most notably the case of PLIVA v. Mensing.

Reglan lawyers take case to Supreme Court

PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing is currently being heard before the US Supreme Court. The case involves two plaintiffs who developed the devastating Reglan side effect, tardive dyskinesia resulting in permanent involuntary muscle contractions. The plaintiffs took the generic form of Reglan; a metoclopramide manufactured by Pliva, Inc.

While the final verdict is not expected until July, Supreme Court judges have shared their views on the case indicating that there is not yet a consensus regarding questions of conflicting federal and state laws. Currently federal laws do not require generic drug makers to list warnings on their labeling, whereas state laws do currently make this requirement.

Justices divided on the Supreme Court Reglan lawsuit

Justice Antonin Scalia has indicated vague support for the defendant on a theory that only the brand-name drug maker possesses knowledge of the science behind the drug; whereas the generic maker knows only how to copy it.

Justice Samuel Alito had indicated similar support in favor of the defendant on a “you get what you pay for” theory. He pointed out that holding generic drug manufacturers liable in this manner would counteract their purpose in providing affordable medication.

Other justices, such as Stephen Breyer and Justice Sonia Sotomayor have demonstrated preliminary support for the Plaintiffs in the Reglan lawsuit. Justice Sotomayor vocalized concern about a marketplace in which consumers may seek recourse only against a brand name drugmaker. Congressional intent, she believes, supports generic drugmaker liability.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case in July. The ruling could affect thousands of cases that involve generic Reglan litigation. This Reglan lawsuit in the Supreme Court could have even deeper implications for the pharmaceutical industry as a whole by helping to define the liability concerns for generic makers of all medications.