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Who is liable for injuries caused by generic drugs?


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Estimates suggest that most of the prescriptions written in the United State are for generic drugs. Generic drug use is only growing in popularity, and will continue to grow as many popular drugs come off patent. This may be good for patients concerned about the cost of their prescription medicine, but who is liable when a generic drug causes harm to a consumer?

Recent case rulings from the Supreme Court provide a certain amount of protection for the manufacturer of generic drugs so long as all brand name manufacturer warnings are on the packaging. However, some states are implementing measures that may place a certain amount of liability on the manufacturer of the name brand. Texas has not yet followed suit in accepting the concept of innovator liability.

Why choose generic?

The widespread use of generic drugs is mostly due to the decreased cost of off-brand medicine. Coupled with the fact that studies show that generics are just as effective as name brand medications, most patients think nothing of paying for the cheaper generics. Consider the following:

  • Research has no evidence that name brand medications work better, even for serious health issues such as cardiovascular issues.
  • Regulations from the FDA ensure that generics must perform in the same way as a branded medication.

There may be slight variances between generics and name brands, but these may not be to the extent that they would cause any medically significant side effects.

The majority of consumers trust and takes generic medications. However, on the rare occasion that a generic medication causes a patient harm, there is still much debate regarding who or what company is liable.

What is innovator liability?

Innovator liability is a concept now accepted by a few other states to place some liability on the brand manufacturer if a generic drug causes harm. However, Texas patients harmed by dangerous drugs still have the right to pursue a legal claim after suffering from a pharmaceutical injury. These cases are remarkably complex, and victims may find it practical to secure the help of an attorney specifically experienced in confronting drug companies and manufacturers.

Manufacturers of both the name brand and the bioequivalent drug have a responsibility to include appropriate warnings on all packaging regarding potential side effects and the possible dangers of the medication reacting with other prescriptions the patient may be taking. Victims of pharmaceutical injuries have the right to hold liable parties accountable for disregarding this responsibility.

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