Pharmaceutical Companies spared by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court insulated generic pharmaceutical companies from state failure to warn claims concerning inadequate labeling last week. The Court held that federal law preempted generic drug makers from consumer state law claims that assert generic drug makers’ failure to include adequate warning labels about possible side effects.

In its reasoning, the Court stated that generic drug companies have no choice but to comply with federal law and cannot be held liable when they fully comply with the FDA’s regulations regarding generic drug labeling. According to the opinion, federal law already requires generic pharmaceutical companies to use warning labels that are identical to their name-brand counterparts.

Preemption occurs when a state law conflicts with a federal law, rendering compliance with both laws a physical impossibility. Under the Supremacy Clause, federal law prevails and trumps state law. Due to the FDA’s extensively regulation of the drug industry, state failure to warn claims relative to drug side effects are often preempted by federal law.


If you or a loved one suffered an injury after taking prescription medication, you may have legal rights. Talk to an experienced attorney who can assist you in evaluating your claims. For questions, contact Broussard & David at 1-888-337-2323 (toll free) or 337-233-2323 (local).