Tools to Defend Against Improper Manufacturing and Marketing Claims
There has been a scourge of product liability lawsuits brought this spring against drug manufacturers that all drug companies should be aware of. While previous industries were often left unprotected and vulnerable to claims like these brought in court, legislators have incorporated immunity into various laws in order to help companies defend against design, manufacturing, and marketing defect claims. Below, we discuss these in greater detail.
Current Litigation against Opioid Medication Manufacturers
In one such recent case, the City of Cleveland sued AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, claiming that the company created a public nuisance via the opioid addiction crisis by manufacturing their product, seeking damages to cover addiction treatment, hospital care, and law enforcement. This is one of many cases filed involving national prescription opiate litigation, filed in association with the illegal use of these products, and allegations that the manufacturers “aggressively marketed” their products, causing the drug epidemic.
However, these products are arguably lawful, necessary drugs that have been approved and are currently regulated by the federal government. In addition, the labeling on these products provides users with the proper warnings concerning addiction, overdose and potential death from misuse.
The process of distribution is also very relevant: manufacturers do not directly distribute to the public; rather, there are a number of intermediaries involved, including individual doctors, as well as individuals engaging in illegal activities by distributing the drugs to those without a prescription. In fact, those who tend to die from overdoses usually were not using these medications as prescribed, and thus there is a significant divide between the manufacturer and the public misusing a product that they were warned not to misuse.
Protection for Gun & Vaccine Manufacturers & Sellers
Although Congress has not yet intervened on litigation brought against opioid medication manufacturers, they did on behalf of gun and vaccine manufacturers a decade or so ago, and this intervention can provide some guidance for drug manufacturers in terms of what proper legislative efforts could bring by way of immunity against frivolous claims.
For example, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005, which provides immunity to ammunition and firearm manufacturers and sellers from administrative or civil claims arising from the criminal or unlawful use of ammunition of firearms (note that there are of course exemptions to the immunity for any manufacturer or seller who knowingly violates a federal state law applicable to the sale of ammunition or firearms).
Years before, the makers of childhood vaccines also received immunity from civil suits via The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which preempts lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers and establishes a remedial program to compensate those who suffer from vaccination side effects.
Brownsville, Texas Product Liability Attorneys
Colvin, Saenz, Rodriguez & Kennamer, L.L.P. has been defending product manufacturers and sellers facing liability claims for years. We provide skilled representation in defending against product liability claims, including design, manufacturing, and marketing liability or negligence claims. Contact us today to find out more.