Supreme Court to hear Pfizer liability case

Do states have any business policing drugs? We're about to find out. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Pfizer's appeal in a product liability suit originally brought in a Michigan court, but thrown out because of a state law limiting lawsuits over FDA-approved drugs. The suit concerns Rezulin, a Warner-Lambert drug pulled from the market for liver side effects just as Pfizer bought that company.

That court waved off the Michigan law's sole exception--that it's OK to sue in state court when a drug maker misrepresents info presented to the FDA--by saying that federal law pre-empted it. The U.S. Circuit Court disagreed and reinstated the suit.

Now, the Supremes will have their say--and legal experts say they might be inclined to agree with Pfizer, which wants product liability cases to be restricted to federal courts. The top court has also agreed to hear a case whose central issue is whether federal approval of a medical device--in this case made by Medtronic--shields it from liability claims under state law.

- read this article in the Houston Chronicle

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