T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.Annotate this Case
In this appeal arising from a demurrer, Plaintiffs could allege a cause of action against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation for warning label liability.
The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal, which directed the trial court to enter an order sustaining Novartis’s demurrer with leave to amend Plaintiffs’ negligence and negligent misrepresentation causes of action. Plaintiffs claimed, inter alia, that Novartis knew or should have known that its warning label failed to alert pregnant women or their doctors to the risk Brethine posed to fetal brain development. Novartis filed a demurrer, arguing that it had no duty to Plaintiffs. The trial court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend. The Court of Appeal reversed and directed that the order sustaining the demurrer be modified to grant Plaintiffs leave to amend their causes of action for negligence and negligent misrepresentation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) brand-name drug manufacturers have a duty to use ordinary care in warning about the safety risks of their drugs, regardless of whether the injured party was dispensed the brand-name or generic version of the drug; and (2) a brand-name manufacturer’s sale of the rights to a drug does not terminate its liability for injuries foreseeably and proximately caused by deficiencies present in the warning label prior to the sale.