Public Citizen has exciting news to share. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court in Wyeth v. Levine agreed with Public Citizen that patients harmed by defective and mislabeled drugs have the right to sue drug companies to recover compensation for their injuries.
This is a huge win not only for Public Citizen – who was part of the plaintiff’s legal team – but for all American citizens.
Drug companies aren’t perfect, and sometimes they fail to identify and inform doctors and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of problems with their products or their products’ labels.
And, most important, once a drug is marketed to thousands of people, we learn about things that we never knew in the clinical trials for that drug – problems that arise over the years as doctors prescribe and patients take the drug.
In the case of Wyeth v. Levine, the plaintiff, Diana Levine, lost her arm because Wyeth didn’t take a simple step to warn her doctors of an avoidable risk of gangrene that was well-known to the company: the drug shouldn’t have been administered via IV-push.
For all these reasons, legal immunity for drug manufacturers – as called for by drug companies and the Bush administration – would have been a colossal mistake. The Supreme Court appreciated this fact.
Yesterday’s decision is a huge victory for Diana and patients across the country. The support from you and all our activists helped this victory occur.
However, the fight isn’t over. In a contrary decision last year, the Supreme Court ruled that people harmed by medical devices don’t have the right to sue manufacturers if the device was approved by the federal government. We are working with Congress right now to enact a law that would ensure that these injured patients can go to court.
Public Citizen will continue fighting for patient’s rights – YOUR rights – every step of the way.