Several months ago, we brought you a story about a small-town, family-owned drug store in West Virginia (one of the last of its kind), that was dragged into Actos litigation by a plaintiff on grounds that the pharmacy's owner knew about the harmful effects of the medication and failed to inform the patient. Takeda's corporate attorneys claimed that the plaintiff had named Patterson's Drug Store as a defendant for the sole reason of making certain the case was heard locally rather than being removed to a possibly more corporate-friendly federal court. After a federal judge heard the defendant's arguments, she remanded the case to Harrison County, where the lawsuit was filed, acknowledging that while Patterson's was not directly responsible for the harmful side effects of Actos, the pharmacist may indeed have been aware of the risks and could be liable on grounds of failure to warn.
Last fall, Patterson's counsel filed a motion to dismiss the case against his client, arguing that the plaintiff could not “...explain how Patterson’s Drug Store...obtained information allegedly hidden from the entire medical community.” If the manufacturer was hiding information from everyone, then the only thing his client did was to sell and dispense a prescription authorized by the plaintiff physician.
Six months later, Harrison Circuit Judge Thomas Bedell agreed with Patterson's lawyer, dismissing the case against the small-town pharmacy “without prejudice” - meaning that while the case against Patterson's is over for now, the plaintiff could file another suit against the store at some future date. This saga highlights a problem with the current perception of the federal court system as not providing a forum where plaintiffs are assured of getting their fair day in court. Pharmacies do owe a duty to their customers as regards proper warnings and sometimes litigation is the only means of determining what information the drugmaker provided about its products.
O'Brien, John. “Pharmacy Dismissed From Actos/Bladder Cancer Case.” West Virginia Record, 10 July 2013.
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