Washington, DCThe Supreme Court ruled today, in a 5-4 decision, that generic drug companies do not share the same level of responsibility as the makers of brand-name drugs to update their product labeling. The ruling effectively ends two separate lawsuits brought by two women who claim they suffered severe medical complications from using a generic form of Reglan.
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Julie Demahy of Louisiana and Gladys Mensing of Minnesota both developed a severe long-term neurological disorder called Tardive dyskinesia after using a generic form of a heartburn medication called metoclopramide. According to a report on CNN.com
both women had been prescribed Reglan, the brand name for metoclopramide, which is made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, to treat their acid reflux and heartburn. However, their pharmacists separately filled their prescriptions with the generic version of the drug, madey by PLIVA Inc and Actavis Inc.
Both women used the generic form of the drug for four years over which time they developed Tardive dyskinesia, which involves involuntary muscle movements and is difficult to treat. The women sued the generic manufacturers, alleging they were not adequately warned of the long-term health risks associated with the drug. According to CNN.com
it was also alleged that evidence as to the dangers of the drug was mounting, however, the companies did nothing to change the warnings on the labels.