Today, it’s far more likely than not that a pharmacist will fill a prescription with a drug’s generic version. According to the FDA, “approximately 80 percent of drugs dispensed today are generic.”
Most people take generic drugs without ever thinking about their safety, or their legal options should they be harmed. That was certainly the case with New Hampshire resident Karen Bartlett, who in 2004 was prescribed a generic version of the drug sulindac for shoulder pain. The New York Times described what happened next to Bartlett:
“Within weeks of taking the drug, her skin began to slough off until nearly two-thirds of it was gone. She spent almost two months in a burn unit, and months more in a medically induced coma. The reaction permanently damaged her lungs and esophagus and rendered her legally blind.”
Bartlett sued the drug company, claiming there was a design-defect with the drug. A jury awarded her $21 million in damages. But in the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett, the Court overturned the verdict. In a 5-4 decision, the Court reasoned that because generic drug companies have a responsibility to mimic the composition of their brand-name counterparts and cannot independently alter their drugs’ composition, they cannot be sued for design-defect claims.
The Bartlett case was the second generic drug liability case to reach the Court in recent years. In 2011, in PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing, the Court reached a similar result, finding that generic drug companies cannot be held responsible when their labels are incorrect or inadequate. Resting on a peculiarity in FDA law that prevents generic drug companies from changing labels even if a hazard exists, the Court majority held that in this case, “Federal law does preempt a State law failure-to-warn claim.”
On Wednesday, February 12 Sen. Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on four nominees. When the Senate returned on Monday, February 24, the Senate confirmed the first of these nominees, Jeffrey Alker Meyer to the District of Connecticut by a vote of 91-2. On Tuesday, February 25, the Senate confirmed the remaining three nominees:
James Maxwel Moody, Jr. to the Eastern District of Arkansas, 95-4,
James Donato to the Northern District of California, 90-5, and
Beth Labson Freeman to the Northern District of California, 91-7.
On Tuesday, February 25, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on four judicial nominees:
Gregg Jeffrey Costa to the Fifth Circuit,
Tanya S. Chutkan to the District of Columbia,
M. Hannah Lauck to the Eastern District of Virginia, and
Leo T. Sorokin to the District of Massachusetts.
On Thursday, February 27, the Senate Judiciary Committee held and Executive Business Meeting and reported six nominees to the District of Arizona out of Committee. The Committee held over three other nominees.
The nominees to the District of Arizona reported out were:
Steven Paul Logan,
John Joseph Tuchi,
Diane J. Humetewa,
Douglas L. Rayes, and
James Alan Soto.
If confirmed, Diane Humetewa would be the first Native American woman to serve on the federal bench. Rosemary Marquez was originally nominated in June of 2011 and is the nominee who has been pending the longest.
Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantánamo detainee and prominent critic of the West’s War on Terror, was arrested Tuesday in an “anti-terror raid” in Birmingham, England. Begg, a native-born British citizen, was detained for three years after September 11, 2001 without being charged of a crime. Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain at The Intercept discuss the “dubious terrorism charges” that are “part of the effort to criminalize Muslim political dissent.”
The Public Campaign Action Fund is spending $1 million to rally New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to pass a bill that would combat big-money politics and "raise up the voices of everyday people in our political process." Andy Kroll at Mother Jones has the story.
A secretly recorded video of recent Supreme Court oral argument has been released by the advocacy group 99Rise.org. Bill Mears of CNN reports on the rare footage that is raising concerns at the high court.
Dana Milbank of The Washington Post comments on the GOP’s frivolous lawsuits against the Obama administration and their ideological shift on judicial activism.
At ACLU’s Blog of Rights, Dennis Parker compares commentary on Adkins et al. vs. Morgan Stanley with the eloquent imagery of Jamaal May’s “There Are Birds Here.”
by James C. Nelson, Justice, Montana Supreme Court (Retired)
Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer said she’d do the right thing, and she did. Good for her; she made the correct decision.
The right decision for the right reason would have been for her to say outright that Senate Bill 1062 was simply religious bigotry against LGBT people and had no place in Arizona’s civil code. End of story; end of bill.
Instead, Governor Brewer vetoed the proposed law because of the outcry of big business. Corporate America – hailed by some in the popular media as a “beacon of progress” – has come to realize that conservative religious zealotry hurts the bottom line. Bigotry and business seemingly don’t make good bedfellows any more – as they may well have when the conservative Christian Right was in its heyday not too many years ago.
I suggest what is happening here is not that Corporate America has suddenly developed a social and moral conscience. Rather, big business does what it always does where constitutional rights are concerned. If embracing those rights adds luster to the “brand” and dollar signs to the bottom line, then count the big guys in. If the opposite is true -- equal pay and freedom of choice for women -- for example, well that’s likely to be another story. In the end, greed usually trumps God, and that’s what happened here.
But am I complaining that the LGBT Community won this round in the way it did? No I am not. A win is a win; and if one’s frenemies are on your side in the battle, we all get to bask in the victory.
But before America’s newest beacons of progress get complacent on this issue, be aware that other States are still in the process of putting “right to discriminate” laws in play – Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Tennessee and Utah.
All of us who are committed to equality under the law won this battle; but the war is not over. We’ll take the win; and we’ll take your help Corporate America.
Homophobic discrimination is wrong for the right reasons – and for the wrong reasons as well. Pick your weapon; it’s the result that matters.
by Richard W. Painter, the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law, University of Minnesota Law School
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has listened to the concerns of a wide range of pro-business Republicans, Democrats and Independents who want Arizona to be open for business to everybody.
Senate Bill 1062 would have legalized discrimination on religious grounds by changing the definition of a “person” entitled to assert religious freedom as a defense in a discrimination lawsuit:
"Person" includes a religious assembly or institution ANY INDIVIDUAL, ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, CORPORATION, CHURCH, RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY OR INSTITUTION, ESTATE, TRUST, FOUNDATION OR OTHER LEGAL ENTITY."
The existing statutory language - crossed out above and replaced in Senate Bill 1062 with the now vetoed language in ALL CAPS - remains the law in Arizona. This existing law allows a Christian Church to tell a fifteen year old Jewish girl that she cannot take communion without, among other things, affirming the divinity of Christ. The existing statute, however, does not give a Christian flower shop owner an excuse to refuse to sell the girl flowers for her bat mitzvah, and later an excuse not to sell her flowers for her wedding.
The objective of this bill was to legalize religiously motivated discrimination against gays rather than against Jews or other religious minorities. The language, however, is extremely broad, presumably because singling out discrimination against gays for a statutory discrimination safe harbor would have raised even more constitutional problems than the text of the legislation as it was written.