Fulgenzi v. PLIVA, Inc., No. 12-3504 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Fulgenzi was prescribed the generic drug metoclopramide (FDA approved in 1980), sold originally under the brand name Reglan, a drug approved for short-term treatment of patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease. In her suit, claiming failure to adequately warn of risks, she alleged that taking the drug caused her to develop tardive dyskinesia, an often-irreversible neurological disorder that causes involuntary movements, especially of the lower face. In 2009, the Supreme Court held that with respect to branded drug manufacturers, state failure-to-warn suits were not preempted by the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act , 21 U.S.C. 301. In 2011 the Court held that such suits could not go forward against generic drug manufacturers, as it is impossible to comply simultaneously with their state duty to adequately warn and their federal duty of sameness (federal law requires generic drug labels to be the same as their branded counterpart). The district court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit reversed, noting that after the branded-drug manufacturer of metoclopramide strengthened warnings on its label, the generic manufacturer failed to update its label as required by federal law, rendering compliance with both federal and state duties no longer impossible.