Heartburn and the Constitution
reux.10 e doctors prescribe Reglan© to two million people
annually and the pharmacists commonly substitute Reglan© with
generic metoclopramide.11 When taken for more than twelve weeks,
the treatment can cause tardive dyskinesia, an oen–irreversible
neurological disorder.12 Symptoms include: “’grotesque facial grimacing
and open–mouthed, uncontrollable tongue movements, tongue
thrusting, [and] tongue chewing.’”13 Arguably, this is a too high price to
pay for taking a medicine to treat heartburn.
As a result, thousands of lawsuits are led in the American
courts. A Pennsylvania–based watchdog group referred to Reglan©
and metoclopramide as being the most litigated drug during 2011
and mentioned more than 11,0000 litigation–related adverse reports
received by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).14
e present research focuses on Reglan©/metoclopramide litigation
from two competing public policy considerations. Hence, this paper
acknowledges both the need for an eective pharmaceutical market
and the need for a tolerable administration of justice.15 e underlying
premise of this study is that numbers and statistics fail to accurately
depict the reality of individuals suering from the side–eects associated
with generic drugs. Statistically, the current regulatory framework may
have brought “more drugs more quickly and cheaply to the public.”16
But the search for eciency has ignored thousands of victims who
are deprived from any remedy to compensate and to prevent the side
eects produced by the pharmaceutical drugs. When considered from
the point of view of individual suering, the current scheme cannot
10. See How Many People Have Acid Reux?, supra note 1.
11. Reglan & Tardive Dyskinesia, DW, https://www.drugwatch.com/
reglan/ (last visited Apr. 4, 2018).
13. Huck v. Wyeth, Inc., 850 N.W. 2d 353, 359 (Iowa 2014).
14. Reglan & Tardive Dyskinesia Litigation, DW, https://www.drugwatch.
com/reglan/litigation/ (last visited Apr. 4, 2018).
15. If the eighteenth-century Scottish economist and philosopher, Adam Smith,
was correct, both economic ineciency and intolerable administration of jus-
tice hinder the progress of a society. See generally A S, T T
M S (2002).
16. Mensing, 564 U.S. at 626.