In an important case of first impression, the Texas Supreme Court has joined the large majority of states that have adopted the learned intermediary defense in product liability claims involving pharmaceutical products. The defense is available to a pharmaceutical manufacturer that provides adequate warning to a physician who prescribes the manufacturer’s drug. The Court reasoned that because a consumer may only access prescription drugs through a physician (the “learned intermediary”), the manufacturer must provide the warning only to the physician and not directly to the consumer. The court’s unanimous opinion in Centocor Inc. v. Hamilton, No. 10-0223 (June 8, 2012) was authored by Justice Paul Green.
The slip opinion is available on the Supreme Court’s website at http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/ and can be accessed by the above-referenced cause number (using the Case Search function).