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By Lindsay Proskey

Recently, the Seventh Circuit dismissed thousands of claims against Pfizer, the manufacturer of a generic testosterone drug, Depo-T, for inadequately warning consumers that Depo-T increased heart attacks in older men.[1] The consumers' right to relief hinged on Depo-T’s classification as a generic or brand name drug. The Seventh Circuit found the plaintiff’s claims preempted under federal law and barred by Supreme Court precedent, leaving these consumers without recourse. The controlling Supreme Court precedent and outdated FDA rules collectively frustrate state tort laws, impede on consumer rights, prevent injured consumers from judicial relief, and insulate generic drug companies from state product liability law under the guise of preemption.

Federal Preemption

Federal law “preempts” or displaces state law when state and federal law conflict. The doctrine of preemption derives from the Supremacy Clause[2] of the United States Constitution. Upon state ratification, federal law became superior over state law, within the realm of constitutionally delegated authority, thereby granting states the rights and powers “not delegated to the United States.”[3]  Traditionally, states have the power to establish and enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public. Since federal and state governments have both exclusive and concurrent powers, a problem exists when both levels of government regulate the same subject matter. Where preemption applies, federal law trumps state legislatures, courts, administrative agencies, and constitutions. Thus, the Supreme Court accepts the Supremacy Clause as a “basic constitutional command that all conflicting state provisions be without effect.”[4]

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By Robert Geimer

According to an analysis by Pro Publica, doctors who receive money, gifts and meals from drug companies write prescriptions for name brand drugs at a higher rate than doctors who do not receive money or gifts.  The highest prescribing percentages went to doctors who received more than $5,000 in money or gifts.  Though doctors have long disputed a connection between drug company payments and prescribing habits, this analysis provides proof.  If this were to happen in a different context, it might be considered bribery or a payoff.  But because of the outsized influence and campaign contributions of pharmaceutical and physician groups, it is just “incentive.”

heartburn medication dementia, Chicago personal injury lawyerAll medications come with risks, but some have more than others. Unfortunately, the risks are not adequately researched, or worse, properly disclosed to prescribing physicians and patients. The warnings, in many instances, are inadequate. Such instances involving dangerous or defective drugs can wreak havoc on the lives of unsuspecting victims. Case in point: the recent study that revealed popular heartburn medications may carry an elevated risk of dementia.

Proton Pump Inhibitors and Their Uses

Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are a class of drugs used to treat certain gastric conditions, including peptic and stomach ulcers, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Available both by prescription and over the counter, they are used by an estimated 15 million Americans. Some who take them claim they are difficult to stop because the condition returns with an increase in severity. But, in light of recent studies, cessation of use may very well be the best course of action, particularly for those who suffer from milder versions of the treated conditions.

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By Robert Geimer

Previously I wrote about Martin Shkreli, the 32 year-old “hedge fund” manager who acquired a 62-year-old drug used to treat infection and then jacked-up the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Shkreli has now gone out of his way to make sure he has a first class ticket to Hades. First, he told a Forbes magazine healthcare conference that if he could do it all over again, he would have raised prices even higher. Then, as reported by Bloomberg Business, rap group Wu Tang Clan put the only copy of its new album up for auction to the highest bidder and – you guessed it – Mr. Shkreli was the winning bidder, paying $2 million for a record album. All the while millions of sick, elderly, and otherwise hard-working Americans cannot afford the outrageous prices of prescription drugs. And this guy - who has been gouging these Americans with no remorse - spends $2 million on a record album? You may want to order your flame-retardant suit now, Mr. Shkreli, you’re going to need it.

Posted on in Uncategorized

By Robert Geimer

A 32 year-old former “hedge fund” manager acquired a 62 year-old drug used to treat human infections and jacked the price from $13.50 to $750 per tablet, according to The New York Times.  Only a few years ago, the drug cost $1 per tablet.  But CorePharma acquired it, then Impax bought CorePharma, and the young hedge fund manager purchased it and jacked-up the price to the point where it is essentially unaffordable.  This is not the only example.  A tuberculosis drug was just increased in price from $500 to $10,800 for 30 pills after its acquisition of Rodelis Therapeutics.  We’re all for capitalism and investment in new medicines, but this is ridiculous.  People are going without life-saving medicine while we read about hedge fund managers spending $100 million on Manhattan condos.  An absolute disgrace.

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