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DRI - the Voice of the Defense Bar Responds to Supreme Court Ruling in Wyeth v. Levine
Date:3/5/2009

aid Wyeth could have complied with both federal and state requirements.

DRI - which defends the interests of business while working toward a fairer and more effective civil justice system - continues to see significant need for clarity on the preemption issue, especially as untenable burdens may be imposed on companies to conform their products to 50 different standards in 50 different states.

In its amicus brief, DRI maintained that state tort law could raise prices to the point where many sick people will not be able to obtain them. "One likely result is that prescription drug costs will increase as manufacturers face the inevitable flood of lawsuits seeking to have juries decide whether warning labels were adequate for each individual patient," added Mr. Davis.

Justice Breyer, while concurring with the majority in its decision, noted this concern over the possibility of prohibitive cost increases, and he suggested that the FDA may want to study that issue further.

"We welcome and appreciate the opportunity for DRI to contribute to the decision-making process for this case," said Marc E. Williams, President of DRI -- the Voice of the Defense Bar. "Preemption issues will continue to be an important legal issue for courts to consider and DRI is committed to participating in those discussions."

Justice Stevens authored the opinion for the Court, which was joined by Justices Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer. Justice Thomas joined in the judgment only and wrote separately to explain his views on so-called obstacle preemption. Justice Alito authored the dissent, which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia.

Should you wish to interview Michael Davis for further comment, please contact Julie Graceffa at the number or email address listed below.

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