Changes to Legislation Could Impact Future of Reglan Litigation

Whitney Taylor | May 30th, 2012 | Posted in Reglan Lawsuit News

New legislation has been introduced that may allow individuals injured by heartburn medication Reglan to file a lawsuit against a generic drug manufacturer in the future. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) has introduced a bill into the Senate that would allow generic drug manufacturers to change product labels to include warnings about Reglan tardive dyskinesia and other side effects, the same way brand name drug manufacturers currently do. This new legislation could hold generic drug manufacturers responsible for alerting the public to potential dangers associated with their medications as they arise.

Victims of Reglan side effects may have recourse

Current law requires that generic drug labels precisely match those of their brand name counterparts. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in Pliva v. Mensing that generic drug manufacturers do not have the same legal responsibilities as a brand name company would. This left many suffering from Reglan tardive dyskinesia and other serious side effects from generic drugs unable to pursue legal compensation for their injuries. In fact, many lawsuits were thrown out of courts across the country as those pursuing legal action against generic drug manufacturers suddenly found their hands tied.

Reglan tardive dyskinesia just one side effect impacted by new bill

The new bill was introduced by Senator Leahy on April 18, 2012. Dubbed the “Patient Safety and Generic Labeling Improvement Act,” this bill would allow generic drug companies to update product labels in order to alert consumers and the medical community to newly discovered side effects involving their drugs. While Senator Leahy introduced the bill to the Senate, it was simultaneously introduced to the House of Representatives by Representatives Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland). The bill will be closely watched by more than one Reglan lawyer as it works its way through Congress.

The newly proposed legislation has been supported by the Attorneys General, who have stated that the Supreme Court has denied legal options to consumers, simply based on the fact that they took a generic drug instead of a brand name product. In many cases, patients do not know – or are not given a choice – over whether to use a brand name or generic medication. Many patients do not realize that by purchasing the generic, they are throwing away their ability to file a Reglan lawsuit, should a serious complication like Reglan tardive dyskinesia arise.

Senator Leahy released a press release involving the new legislation, which stated:

“The Mensing decision creates a troubling inconsistency in the law governing prescription drugs. If a consumer takes the brand name version of the drug, she can sue the manufacturer for inadequate warnings. If the pharmacy happens to give her the generic version, she will not be able to seek compensation for her injuries.”