July 20th, 2015 by Rieders Travis in Products Liability

Claim was that Wyeth was negligent in placing unreasonably dangerous drug on the market which was ultimately withdrawn.  In Pennsylvania, products liability law is superseded as it applies to prescription drugs under Comment k of the Restatement 2nd of Torts 402A.  Due to the inherent risks associated with prescription drugs, the Supreme Court is limited to potential causes of action to a plaintiff who alleges a strict liability claim against a drug manufacturer.  The plaintiff may advance only two theories:  1) a manufacturing defect claim; or 2) a failure to warn claim.  A failure to warn claim must be analyzed with negligent standards under Restatement 2nd of Torts 388.  Pennsylvania is one of the few states that afford Comment k protection to all prescription drugs as a matter of law.  A design defect claim for strict liability is not permitted in Pennsylvania when it is asserted against a manufacturer of prescription drugs.  A drug cannot be deemed unreasonably dangerous even if it is defectively designed so long as the drug is manufactured properly and contains adequate warnings.  We agree however that Comment k does not apply to a negligent design claim.  The Restatement 2nd of Torts §395 addresses a manufacturer’s negligent design of products.  Comment k is confined to strict liability claims and has no application to claims sounding in negligence.  There is no duty to recall in Pennsylvania.  The FDA decides whether to recall a drug.  A drug manufacturer’s post-sales duty to warn of dangerous propensities provides consumers with a remedy and sufficient protection against risks.  Pennsylvania has not adopted independent tort for negligent failure to test.  There is no duty to test in Pennsylvania. Restatement 3rd of Torts Products Liability §6(c) has not been adopted.  Lance vs. Weyth, 4 A.3d 160 (Pa. Super. 2010).

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]



Article Categories