Supreme Court Be Sensible? How Dare They!

By March 1, 2008Briefly Legal

The Wall Street Journal, opining on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Riegel v. Medtronic. From “Medical Double Jeopardy“:

Another sensible Roberts Court ruling, another uproar. “The Supreme Court’s decision strips consumers of the rights they’ve had for decades,” seethed the always-seething Congressman, Henry Waxman. To decipher: The Court last week restored a measure of rationality to the way government regulates medicine, while foiling a tort bar plot to rewrite federal statutes via state lawsuits.

The court’s 8-1 ruling dealt with a narrow textual interpretation of a specific federal statute, but it may shed light on justices’ thinking on federal pre-emption more broadly.

The Court is about to rule in Warner-Lambert v. Kent, which will determine whether a Michigan trial court is the proper jurisdiction to adjudicate fraud that a pharmaceutical company allegedly committed during FDA review. Also on the docket is Wyeth v. Levine, which could extend similar Riegel protections to drug companies. (Drug and device makers are governed under separate standards.) A Vermont patient contends that the warning label on the anti-nausea drug Phenergan was not specific enough about its risks.

If FDA regulation fails — as it often does — the Supreme Court would be wise to blame the FDA, not the medical industry.

You can find the NAM’s description of all the above cases at our Legal Beagle search engine.

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