Those who follow this blog, or pretty much anything I have ever written, know that I am not a huge fan of the decisions of the current U.S. Supreme Court. Over and over, this panel has ruled in favor of big business and the Haves of society, against consumers and the Have Nots. But even I try to give credit where it is due.
I wrote in these pages some time back about Phenergan, and the fight in the courts to make it impossible to sue a manufacturer of a dangerous and defective drug. Manufacturers argued that since the FDA (overworked and understaffed though they are) had regulated and approved certain drugs, no lawsuit could be filed for a drug that was FDA compliant.
Diane Levine used Phenergan for nausea. The drug was delivered by IV, under doctor supervision. Levine developed gangrene in her arm, and subsequently lost her arm near the IV site due to problems with the drug. When Wyeth, the manufacturer of Phenergan, refused to stand behind its dangerous product, Levine filed a lawsuit. A jury agreed that the drug was dangerous.
Wyeth argued that federal law forbade the lawsuit. This week, however, the United States Supreme Court disagreed. By doing so, they forced manufacturers to stand behind their products in court, rather than leaving those injured by defective drugs to bear the impact of the injury alone.
Score one for the consumer, and more importantly, score one for those hoping to make drugs safer for us all.