Drug Companies Held Responsible for Defectively Designed Drugs


In a recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, drug manufacturers in PA can now be held responsible for negligence in the design and marketing of unsafe and potentially deadly pills to the public.

The ruling stems from the Lance v. Wyeth case involving the drug company Wyeth, a Pfizer subsidiary, and their diet drug, Redux. The deceased plaintiff in this case, Catherine Lance, took Redux from January to April 1997, and later died from complications related to primary pulmonary hypertension. Catherine Lance's family claimed that Wyeth delayed public disclosure of the risk of heart valve disease caused by its diet drugs, including Redux, in long-term users.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court voted 4-2 to allow the claim to go forward alleging the drug company negligently designed and marketed the diet pill.

In the past, pharmaceutical companies could only face product liability claims resulting from manufacturing defects or inadequate warning labels, but this case sets a new precedent that seeks to protect consumers in the future.

“Drug makers may face liability for design defects.” Post-gazette.com. January 27, 2014.