It's a state court ruling. It directly affects only one drugmaker. But the Alabama Supreme Court's decision to allow a patient to sue Pfizer for damages could ripple through the industry--and not in a good way for branded drugmakers.
The courts giveth and the courts taketh away, and how you view those actions depends on which side of a lawsuit you sit. In a recent ruling by a federal appeals court, Merck & Co. was handed a win in an employee retaliation lawsuit, reversing the half-a-million dollar verdict that former employee Jennifer Scott had been granted last year.
Fallout over the use of all-metal hip implants continues to erupt, and this time it is hitting Biomet. A patient implanted with the company's M2a Magnum Hip System is suing the Indiana device maker for damages, claiming that the implant was toxic but also destroyed surrounding bone and tissue.
Wright Medical has taken down a website promoting its knee implants after Stryker sued for copyright infringement, claiming Wright's page was designed to trade on its brand.
Yet another patient is suing Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) for health problems he says were caused by one of the company's metal-on-metal hip implants, adding to the thousands of lawsuits filed previously in the matter.
A Florida woman who is now blind in one eye says it is because there was a shortage of Hospira ($HSP) drug Aquasol A that she needed for a vitamin A deficiency. But drugmakers whose poor quality manufacturing leads to closed plants and drug shortages are not responsible for the deteriorating health of patients. At least Hospira is not, a federal judge in Tampa, FL, has ruled.
Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has won a lawsuit against a long-time distribution partner in China. While the amount of money involved may seem puny, it appears to be a big victory in a country that is terribly protective of its domestic drug distributors.
In a bit of drug family planning, Warner Chilcott ($WCRX) has sued Watson Pharmaceuticals ($WPI) to prevent it from putting out a generic version of its oral contraceptive Lo Loestrin Fe.
A Merck unit has pleaded guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge as part of the whopping $950 million settlement of a federal probe into the illegal marketing of Vioxx.
An Arizona man lost a federal court appeal of his lawsuit claiming that a Medtronic ($MDT) pain pump left him paraplegic.