Personal Liberties

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Causation, and not deep pockets, should dictate liability

In 2007, the expectant mother of twins used a generic form of an asthma medication for the off-label purpose of preventing pre-term labor. Novartis was the former manufacturer of the brand-name version of the medication until it sold its rights to the product in 2001. The twins were diagnosed with autism in 2012, allegedly tied to the medication. They sued Novartis, claiming the company knew of the dangers prior to 2001, had a duty to revise the label warnings at that time, and the failure to do so contributed to the twins’ autism. The California Court of Appeal held they could state a claim against Novartis for negligence and the company appealed. PLF filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court opposing “innovator liability.”

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