11th Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment on behalf of defendant Purdue Pharma in a product liability lawsuit involving the prescription painkiller OxyContin. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on the basis that the Plaintiff’s negligence and fraud claims were barred by the learned intermediary doctrine. The doctrine “provides that a drug manufacturer’s duty is limited to the obligation to advise the prescribing physician of any potential dangers that may result from the use of the drug. That is, because the pharmaceutical company’s duty extends only to the prescribing physician, rather than to the patient, ‘a manufacturer of prescription drugs discharges its duty by providing the physician with information about risks associated with these products.'” The trial court correctly found that the actions of a learned intermediary — the Plaintiff’s treating physician — prevented the Plaintiff from showing that the drug manufacturer proximately caused his injury.

Lightfoot, Franklin & White attorneys Harlan Prater, Melody Eagan, and Jacob Tubbs represented Purdue Pharma in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the Eleventh Circuit.