Pharmaceutical companies often spend billions of dollars researching, developing, and testing new medications. When new drugs pass all FDA trials and are approved to be sold in pharmacies, they are protected by patents that last for 20 years. However, after their patents expire, other pharmaceutical companies can begin selling bioequivalent medications, which means they’re essentially the exact same medications but produced, packaged, and sold by different companies.
These are known as generic drugs, and they help drive the costs of medications down, as they provide competition to the original manufacturers. And although they are chemically the same as the name brand medications they’re based on, their manufacturers are protected from being sued in most cases and in most states.
If a generic drug causes a patient to suffer serious injuries because of a flawed design, the manufacturer can’t be held liable, as they aren’t responsible for the research and development of the drug. However, they may be held liable if the drug is dangerous because of manufacturing or packaging errors. For example, if the medication is contaminated with toxins, bacteria, or dangerous chemicals, they can be held liable for injuries or illnesses.
In addition, people hurt by generic drugs in Massachusetts and California may be eligible to sue the original manufacturers of the name-brand versions of the medications for their damages. At Ferrer, Poirot & Wansbrough, we know that generic medications are often less likely to cause injuries, as the name-brand versions have already been on the market for 20+ years without incident, but that doesn’t mean it never happens.