P.I. Pulse: Drug and Tech Corporations Forced to Pay for Wrongdoing and Negligence

Jun. 3rd, 2013   /   , ,

Drug and Tech Corporations

In this blog, we’re going to be talking about a few drug corporations, and perhaps the most popular technology company around right now, that were forced to settle cases in which they were accused of various forms of wrongdoing. These settlements should serve as poignant reminders that when people are harmed – whether they are motorists, consumers, etc. – there is recourse, whether the person inflicting the harm is a teenager recklessly driving a car or a mega corporation worth billions of dollars. With the law on your side, your rights can be protected, even against the most menacingly enormous corporations.

Let’s start with a case that deals with the popular antidepressant drug Wellbutrin XL. An antitrust class action lawsuit against Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc. and SmithKline Beecham Corp., doing business as GlaxoSmithKline and GlaxoSmithKline plc (jointly “GSK”) claimed that these corporations, the ones responsible for the production and marketing of Wellbutrin XL, worked to limit the availability of generic versions of Wellbutrin XL, far less expensive alternatives to the brand-name medication. Now, a tentative settlement has been reached that would result in the aforementioned companies paying $11.75 million. If you purchased Wellbutrin XL, and are a resident of CA, FL, NV, NY, TN, and/or WI, you may be eligible for a piece of that settlement amount, assuming the settlement is approved.

Next up: another pharmaceutical company, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Ltd. Ranbaxy, a manufacturer of generic drugs, is being forced to cough up $500 million to resolve fines and claims against the corporation stemming from their wrongdoing in the form of allegedly producing subpar drugs and making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about manufacturing practices at the company’s overseas practices. According to the Justice Department (DOJ), this settlement is the largest in history as far as generic drug manufacturers go. Among the charges to which Ranbaxy seems to be guilty of is one that involves the drug Gabapentin, also known as Neurontin. With Gabapentin, Ranbaxy reportedly became aware of the fact that certain batches of the drug tested positive for impurities and had unstable shelf lives between June and August of 2007. Still, Ranbaxy did not report these findings to the FDA or announce a recall until October of 2007, at which point the recall involved nearly 75,000,000 pills.

Last: Apple Inc. We all know that awful feeling when our smartphone stops functioning properly. Luckily, many cell phone manufacturers offer warranties and related programs through which the company will replace the cell phone if there is something wrong with it. Of course there are exceptions to this rule: for example, if the phone is damaged due to negligence by the phone’s owner, the phone company probably won’t replace the phone. But how might the phone manufacturer be able to determine whether the damage was the fault of the phone owner or a faulty product? Queue Apple’s water sensor in their iPhones and iPods. This water sensor is supposed to turn a certain color when it has been introduced to water – i.e., if the phone or mp3 player’s owner drops it in a toilet, spills a bottle of water on it, etc. However, apparently, many customers had malfunctioning phones due to no fault of their own and when they brought the phones in for replacement, they were told that the water sensor was changed and thus the phone or iPod would not be replaced. As it turns out, the water sensors have the capacity to change color due to pure humidity and exposure to other forms of moisture (sweat, for example), thus falsely implicating the responsibility of the phone or iPod’s owner. Now, Apple has agreed to pay $53 million to settle a class action lawsuit that has stemmed from this warranty/water sensor issue.

If you have any questions about these or any other legal issues, please reach out to us at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg by calling us at 561-266-9191 or emailing us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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