Supreme Court on Wyeth

A case before the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether pharmaceutical companies should be liable for harm from medicines that carry warnings approved by federal regulators. Arguments in Wyeth v. Levine got underway yesterday. At the core of this case is whether federal law preempts state product liability laws, thereby limiting liability claims against drug companies. The case concerns a guitarist who lost part of her arm after being improperly injected with a drug made by Wyeth. We note that recent rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court limiting shareholder lawsuits have given federal agencies the authority to preempt state regulations. A recent example was the January 2008 Stoneridge decision which limited the liability of third parties (such as accountants and lawyers) charged with aiding a corporation that has defrauded its investors. A decision in the Wyeth case is expected early next year. For more on this case check out the Wall Street Journal’s law blog. Check out additional I.I.I. information on the liability system.  

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