Category Archives: Pharmaceuticals

Third Defense Verdict in Xarelto Litigation

On Friday, August 18, 2017, a federal jury in Mississippi rendered a defense verdict in favor of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a bellwether trial involving the prescription blood thinner Xarelto. The plaintiff alleged Xarelto caused gastrointestinal bleeding resulting in her hospitalization. Federal District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon presided over the case. Notwithstanding the claims and evidence presented by the plaintiff, a jury returned what is now the third straight defense verdict for Janssen and Bayer in several bellwether trials…

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The FTC has its Eyes on Biotech for Antitrust Enforcement

On July 27, 2017, representatives of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gave coordinated testimony to Congress that ought to raise alarm bells for pharmaceutical companies. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA, and Markus Meier, Acting Director of the Bureau of Competition at the FTC, both testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform Commercial and Antitrust Law. Their statements announced a renewed coordination between the respective agencies with a goal to increase competition in the pharmaceuticals market…

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New Jersey, (Mass Actions) & You — Still Perfect Together?

Earlier this month, we wrote about a choice-of-law decision from the New Jersey Supreme Court that we believe will invite more out-of-state plaintiffs to forum-shop and file suit in New Jersey. This prospect of increased “litigation tourism” brought to mind the old New Jersey tourism slogan “New Jersey and You – Perfect Together.” It also brought to mind that New Jersey’s state-law version of an MDL — the New Jersey Multicounty Litigation program — remains a favorite vehicle for plaintiffs and their lawyers to pursue…

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Pharma Opioid Suits Casting a Wider Net

Under both federal and state law, it is unlawful to advertise if the advertisement tends to mislead or deceive. States have enacted consumer protection laws to enforce and regulate such deceptive practices. In New York, under General Business Law §349, deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any business, trade, or commerce, or in the furnishing of any service in the state, is declared unlawful. Over the years, the Federal Trade Commission has prosecuted many businesses accused of engaging in false and deceptive advertising.…

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Developments in Depakote Litigation as Illinois Federal Jury Returns $15 Million Verdict

In the sixth case to go to trial over Depakote, a drug used to treat seizures and bipolar disorder, a federal jury in the Southern District of Illinois returned a $15 million verdict earlier this month. Earlier trials in federal courts in Ohio and Illinois resulted in defense verdicts, but a state jury in Missouri previously awarded $38 million to a group of 25 plaintiffs. This most recent trial addressed the claims of one of the lead plaintiffs in a mass action numbering over 600…

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New Jersey Supreme Court Makes it Easier for Plaintiffs to Come to New Jersey

New Jersey, largely due to its established multi-county litigation program —which often functions as a “mini” state version of an MDL— has long seen out-of-state plaintiffs choosing to file pharmaceutical product liability claims in New Jersey state courts. Earlier this year, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a choice-of-law decision that will serve to invite more such forum-shopping in New Jersey. McCarrell v. Hoffman-LaRoche, 227 N.J. 256 (2017) it involved an Alabama plaintiff (McCarrell) who was prescribed Accutane for certain skin conditions. McCarrell’s doctor,…

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Third Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Pfizer in Zoloft MDL

A Third Circuit Court of Appeals panel recently upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims at summary judgment in a multi-district litigation involving Zoloft, an anti-depressant manufactured by Pfizer. The MDL involved 315 plaintiffs alleging that Zoloft causes cardiac birth defects when taken during early pregnancy. The decision, which upheld an earlier ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has both good and bad aspects for defendants facing pharmaceutical product liability claims. The plaintiffs introduced several expert witnesses…

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Seventh Circuit: Insurer Has Duty to Defend Drug Distributor in “Pill Mill” Lawsuit

This week, a unanimous Seventh Circuit panel found that a major insurance company has a duty to defend H.D. Smith, L.L.C. against a lawsuit brought by the State of West Virginia. The lawsuit claims that the drug distributor helped cause the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic by knowingly oversupplying painkillers to certain pharmacies and clinics, pejoratively known as “pill mills.” The decision reversed an earlier ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. By way of background, in June 2012, the…

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District Court Judge Denies Manufacturer of OTC Pain Reliever Summary Judgment Based on Preemption

Judge Lawrence Stengel of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied summary judgment to the manufacturer of an over-the-counter pain reliever. The manufacturer had sought to dismiss the plaintiff’s fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation claims as preempted by federal law. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates how OTC drugs should be labeled and sold. The Federal Trade Commission regulates whether an OTC drugs advertising is misleading. In the case before Judge Stengel, the OTC manufacturer argued that the fraud claims…

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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Generic Pharmaceutical Preemption Case

The United States Supreme Court today issued an order declining a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer’s petition for a writ of certiorari. The drug manufacturer had sought to challenge a ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court. In that state court ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court found that the U.S. Supreme Court’s preemption decision in Mensing did not necessarily prohibit failure to update claims. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Mensing held that failure to warn claims brought against generic drug manufactures were preempted. The plaintiffs’ attorneys have…

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