Sunday, March 20, 2011
Old Michigan statute prevents state from suing manufacturer
Remember those TV Commercials with Jeff Daniels inviting companies to come to Michigan? For quite some time, one of the more inviting aspects of that invitation has been the fact that Michigan has a unique statute that grants immunity to drugmakers if their products were approved by the FDA (unless that approval was fraudulently obtained). This has meant that, regardless of injuries or of how dangerous the product has turned out to be, state residents are very unlikely to succeed against a pharmaceutical company. Now that the state itself feels ripped off by one of these companies, it is realizing the consequences of its own law. Michigan sued Merck in an effort to recover millions of dollars spent on the Vioxx painkiller, which was pulled from the market in 2004 over heart attack risks but the Michigan appeals court has ruled that the lawsuit is barred by the state statute that grants immunity to the pharmaceutical companies. “We hold that where, as here, the drug in question was approved by the FDA, the state’s suit to recover Medicaid money premised on fraud by the drug company in its representations regarding the safety and efficacy of the drug is barred by (the statute), which exempts drug companies from product liability suits regarding FDA-approved drugs” Go here for a copy of the decision of the court.