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Bills Look to Clarify Generic Drug Labeling

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Bills Look to Clarify Generic Drug Labeling

Last year, the Supreme Court issued a series of seemingly conflicting decisions regarding patients being able to sue drug manufacturers.

The inconsistent cases involved the labeled risks of taking a specific prescription. Consumers taking brand-name drugs could sue the manufacturers if they suffered unnoted side effects. However, people who took generic drugs and suffered the same ailments could not sue the manufacturer.

"If a consumer takes the brand-name version of drug, she can sue the manufacturer for inadequate warnings. If the pharmacy happens to give her the generic version, she will not be able to seek compensation for her injuries," Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont told The New York Times.

Politicians say packaging laws, which currently allow only brand-name drug companies to update labels regularly, need to change to maximize safety for consumers.

For pharmaceutical companies, not disclosing potential risks can be costly. Bayer, for example, recently lost millions of dollars after settling to pay users of its birth control drugs for not warning of blood clot risks.