A lawsuit by a woman who went blind after being unable to source a Hospira ($HSP) drug is moving forward. The case has the potential to reopen the door for other patients to take manufacturers to court if they feel they have been harmed by drug shortages.
The case relates to the shortage of vitamin A drug Aquasol A, which Hospira was unable to supply after moving manufacturing plants in 2010. By closing one plant before opening another, the plaintiff, Jennifer Lacognata, claims that Hospira created a shortage situation that led to her losing sight in one eye.
Last summer, a U.S. District Court dismissed the case, but the U.S. Court of Appeals allowed the appeal.
The plaintiff contends that the vitamin A drug market is a government-granted monopoly, not a free market. "Hospira did not achieve this monopoly through competition, but received it by a government grant, and as such, Hospira is responsible for creating, prolonging, and failing to end, drug shortages," the plaintiff asserted.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed criticisms of Hospira to the appeals court that were actually made by the plaintiff's attorneys.