Generic Darvocet Lawsuits Filed in Maryland
Two generic Darvocet lawsuits have been filed in Maryland, opening up the possibility that generic drugmakers will be held liable in a wave of propoxyphene litigation hitting US courts.
The lawsuits, filed in March in the Baltimore Office of the Maryland District Court, name generic drugmakers Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Teva Biopharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Propst Distribution, Inc. and Vintange Pharmaceuticals, LLC as defendants.
Since November, when propoxyphene was pulled from the US market due to risk Darvocet side effects such as arrhythmia and accidental death, more than a dozen Darvocet lawsuits have been filed throughout the country against Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the manufacturer of the brand-name drug.
Liability questions raised by generic Darvocet litigation
The generic Darvocet lawsuits may challenge the long-established precedent of generic preemption, which frees generic drugmakers from liability in labeling disputes. According to federal law, brand-name drugmakers are responsible for providing accurate and adequate warnings. Generic drugmakers are only responsible for replicating those warnings.
But this long-held standard may soon change. In a landmark January ruling on Gaeta v. Perrigo, a court of appeals ruled that generic preemption did not prevent generic drugmakers from obeying state failure to warn laws. The concept of generic preemption is being further challenged by a generic Reglan lawsuit currently before the US Supreme Court.
Darvocet multidistrict litigation order remains uncertain
So far, ten or more defendants have been named in Darvocet litigation, which is currently being considered for centralization by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). The 7-judge panel may decide to consolidate mounting lawsuits in federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) — a process similar to class action — when the panel meets in July.
By then, several dozen plaintiffs may have hired a Darvocet lawyer and filed claims in federal courts. Some legal experts say Darvocet litigation could grow to include hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs. Millions of people took the mild painkiller every year before the FDA recalled the drug due to concerns that the drug’s risk outweighed its benefit.
Consumer advocacy groups estimate Darvocet and its sister drug Darvon kill hundreds of people every year. Numerous wrongful death lawsuits are expected to join Darvocet litigation.