March 2013 | Take Justice Back

March 2013

WSJ LTE: Accountability for Generic Drugs

The Wall Street Journal ran my Letter to the Editor calling for accountability in the generic drug market over the weekend.  Currently, patients injured by generic drugs do not have access to the civil justice system in order to hold the negligent manufacturer accountable.  The civil justice system is a proven incentive to help improve consumer safety.  An excerpt from the letter can be found below, and the full text can be found online here

Accountability motivates drug makers to both produce safe products and monitor for new side effects after their drugs are approved and enter the marketplace. Generics make up 80% of the prescription drug market, and yet cannot be held responsible and are not subject to the same safety requirements as brand-name manufacturers.

Both generic and brand-drug manufacturers should have the same responsibility to monitor the safety and disclose information about the risks of their drugs.

Forced Arbitration Highlighted in Forbes

Forbes contributor John Wasik shares his opinion on how forced arbitration clauses systematically snub individual investors and small businesses:

“Main street won’t get a fair shake against Wall Street until little guys get their day in court.

But under current rules enforced by the industry’s self-regulator, at nearly every turn, they’re not even allowed to get into a courtroom, thanks to an agreement that limits them to binding arbitration that the industry controls.

Asbestos Bill Markup Abruptly Suspended Until Victims are Heard

Today a House Judiciary subcommittee markup was abruptly suspended on the FACT Act (H.R.982), an anti-victim bill that grants a handout to asbestos corporations seeking to evade accountability.

Supreme Court to Decide if Generic Drug Patients will be Denied Justice

Take Justice Back highlights the story of Karen Bartlett, a victim of a dangerous generic drug

Washington, DC Simply because Karen Bartlett’s prescription was filled with a generic drug, not a brand, her legal rights are now in doubt.  The U.S. Supreme Court will hear Karen's case, Mutual Pharmaceutical v. Bartlett, today about the legal responsibility generic manufacturer’s have for the safety of their drug.  Take Justice Back is highlighting her story and fight for accountability with a new online video of Karen sharing her story in her own words.  

The Exorbitant Cost of Generic Drugs

This post was originally published on the Pop Tort blog and can be found here

Imagine you wake up with shoulder pain and go to your doctor who prescribes you an anti-inflammatory drug called Clinoril.  Your pharmacist then gives you a generic version of this medication (sulindac), perhaps for insurance reasons.  (We’ve all been there, right?) You take the generic medicine and suddenly, your skin starts burning off.  You spend two months in a burn unit, months in a medically induced coma, a year on a feeding tube, and end up severely disfigured with permanent lung, esophagus, and vision damage.  You can no longer read, drive, go to work, or even eat normally.  

Arbitration sounds fair, but forced arbitration is the exact opposite

This post was originally published on Hightower Lowdown and can be found here.

Arbitration sounds fair, but forced arbitration is the exact opposite

Corporate kangaroo courts have quietly usurped our constitutional right to trial by judge and jury

Edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer 

Being wronged by a corporation is painful enough, but getting your day in court is no picnic either. Aside from having to go up against a deep-pocket corporation's pack of snarling lawyers, the judicial system itself is cumbersome, slow, and costly. And to us uninitiated outsiders, a courtroom's cult-like rituals, punctilious language, and black-robed authoritarians are intimidating. No wonder so many of the workers, consumers, small businesses, and others who get stomped on by the corporate powers shy away from taking their legitimate grievances into those chambers.

AAJ: Patient Safety at Risk with SCOTUS Mutual v. Bartlett

Washington, DC—For the third time in a matter of minutes, Karen Bartlett puts drops in her eyes to substitute for the tears she no longer produces.  Legally blind, Karen's eyes are a noticeable injury from her Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), a lifetime condition resulting from taking sulindac, a generic drug prescribed for shoulder pain.   

When Generic Drugs Harm Patients, Can't Count On FDA; Lawsuits Play Role

This post was originally published on Public Justice’s blog and can be found here.

By Claire Prestel, Staff Attorney, Public Justice 

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in a case called Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett, which will decide whether generic drug makers can be held responsible for the harm their products cause. Public Justice joined an amicus brief filed by the American Association for Justice because this case presents a critical access to justice issue for millions of American patients: the Supreme Court will decide whether patients injured by generic drugs can recover from the profitable drug companies that caused them harm, or whether the drug makers can force patients to bear all the costs of their drug-caused injuries.