Diana Levine’s arm was amputated after she developed gangrene from an injection of Wyeth’s anti-nausea drug Phenergan. This week a brief was filed on Ms. Levine’s behalf with the United States Supreme Court. Her case, Wyeth v. Levine Docket No. 06-1249, is set for oral argument before the United States Supreme Court on November 3, 2008. The case raises the question of whether Wyeth may be held liable under state law for inadequately warning about the dangers of a particular method of administering Phenergan. Many readers are already familiar with the facts of the case, but if you aren’t check out Levine’s brief
And if you are interested in learning more about this case and the implications it will have on the safety of America’s prescription drug supply, follow this link to read other briefs filed in Levine.
You may already know that Levine is not a case where Wyeth studied (nor did the FDA consider) the risk-benefit of Phenergan’s administration. Of course, the readers of my blog know that Phenergan is not the only drug where Wyeth has failed to study or weigh the risk of serious side effects. Wyeth did not weigh the risks of its drug Reglan. Wyeth didn’t even study the long term effects of Reglan, even though it knew that a patient’s risk of contracting serious neurological side effects (such as Tardive Dyskinesia) increased over time. Drug manufacturers should not get away with profiting from prescription drugs that they fail to study for safety or effectiveness because the American consumer will pay the ultimate price and will become the victim of dangerous prescription medications and will be subjected to the risk of very real catastrophic but avoidable injuries–all in the name of profit.