Massachusetts court rules consumers can sue brand-name drugmakers over generic drug injuries

Consumers in Massachusetts may now sue brand-name drugmakers for injuries caused by generic versions of their own drugs, reports Reuters.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on March 16 ruled consumers can sue brand-name drug companies for intentionally failing to update warning labels, which generic drugmakers must also use on their own products.

The court decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a Massachusetts man who experienced adverse side effects while taking a generic version of Merck's drug Proscar to treat an enlarged prostate.

A 2011 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court protects generic drug companies from being sued over inadequate warning labels, since these entities are required to use brand-name drugmakers' warning labels under federal law. Therefore, the Massachusetts man sued Merck, claiming Proscar's drug label did not adequately warn about certain side effects.

Merck said it was disappointed by the court's decision and stands by Proscar, according to a statement cited by Reuters.

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