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Wyeth seen as “body blow” to Bush administration efforts of pre-emption.

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2009 | Firm News

Created: 10 March 2009

The Legal Times (3/9, Mauro) reported, “Last week’s decisive Supreme Court ruling against Wyeth in a landmark pharmaceutical product liability case may also close off a major front in a hard-fought battle by businesses and the Bush administration to insulate national corporations from state tort litigation.” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority, saying, “Wyeth has not persuaded us that failure-to-warn claims like Levine’s obstruct the federal regulation of drug labeling.” He added that “until recent years, the Food and Drug Administration viewed state litigation as complementary to its regulations.” David Vladeck, a Georgetown University Law Center professor, said that “the ruling represents ‘a real body blow to the Bush administration’s efforts to change tort law through implied pre-emption.'” Congress should extend protections to patients harmed by medical devices, paper says. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (3/9) editorialized, “Americans who are injured by prescription drugs won an important protection last week: the right to sue for damages in state courts.” The Dispatch said, “Tragically, last year the Supreme Court failed to extend the same protection to patients injured by defective medical devices such as replacement hip and knee joints.” Concluding, the Dispatch wrote, “It’s not realistic to expect the FDA, with a few hundred employees monitoring more than 11,000 drugs and medical devices, to be able to spot every safety problem before a product gets to market” and that “Congress should give people harmed by defective devices the same protections the Court has now given those harmed by dangerous drugs.”