During the 2008-2009 term, which began October 6, the Supreme Court will hear cases that “test the boundary between federal and state authority,” including a case which will determine whether or not people who sustain personal injuries are able to bring claims against drugs and other products that are allegedly defective to state courts, according to USA Today. The case of Wyeth v. Levine will likely be heard by the Supreme Court on November 3.
In the case, plaintiff Diana Levine had to have her hand and forearm amputated because of gangrene after receiving an injection of Phenergan, a nausea medication, into an artery during a push IV injection, a quicker, more potent method than traditional injection.
The label for Phenergan, which received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, includes a push IV injection as an option for administration, but warns of the risks of doing so, such as gangrene. Levine filed suit against Wyeth in Vermont state court over alleged problems with the label and won. The decision was upheld by the state’s Supreme Court.
Wyeth appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that FDA approval precludes state court lawsuits.