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.  

Karen, of Plaistow, N.H, was prescribed a drug for shoulder pain and it was filled with generic sulindac.  Soon after, two-thirds of Karen’s skin began shedding off.  She spent months in a burn unit in a medically induced coma, covered in gauze.  Karen endured 13 eye surgeries and numerous cornea implants.  She now has trouble walking, is legally blind and will need care for the rest of her life.  The condition is called Stevens-Johnson syndrome and it was a direct result of taking the generic drug.  

“Being legally blind, I can't drive or do a lot of the other things I used to do before this happened,” said Karen.  “I want people to know that there can be reactions as severe as what happened to me.”  

Karen's legal team argues that the drug’s design was dangerous and defective.  Three lower courts concurred, awarding Karen damages for her injuries.  Now SCOTUS will decide if Mutual Pharmaceutical is responsible for the overall design of the drug they produced.  

“I feel that generic drugs and brand name drugs should be equal and be held accountable for the harm that they can do to people,” commented Karen.  “It is something that I don’t think anybody should have to go through, what I went through.”

Despite generics accounting for eighty percent of all prescription drugs, anyone who takes a generic drug today will find it nearly impossible to hold generic drug makers accountable when labels do not adequately warn of side effects.  A 2009 SCOTUS decision, Pliva v. Mensing, found that generic drug makers are unaccountable for their labels.  Stay tuned to find out if SCOTUS will again rob patients of their rights, by ruling against accountability for defective drugs.  

To watch Karen tell her story and learn more about this issue, visit


Take Justice Back is a campaign designed to inform Americans that their legal rights are under attack. It engages, educates and motivates activism on the message of accountability through the civil justice system.