Lawmakers debate law to limit lawsuits against pharma companies
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RALEIGH -- Fifteen-year-old Brittany Prewitt was not in Raleigh to testify Thursday.
She died two years ago from complications from taking the medication prescribed for her acne. Her grandfather spoke on her behalf.
“She wanted to be a nurse,” said her grandfather, Bill Prewitt, while fighting off tears. “But she won't get to grow up to be anything.”
Prewitt asked state lawmakers to remember his granddaughter as they consider legislation to bar people from suing manufacturers and sellers of drugs if the drug company had complied with FDA standards.
Some said this is the best way to keep drugs safe because there is a risk to patients if multiple litigations and rulings are taking place in multiple states.
“These de-facto court created warnings could readily oppose conflicting requirements on manufacturers who already must comply with FDA regulations," said John Del Giorno, with GlaxoSmithKline.
Others argue current laws make the state unappealing for drug manufacturers, whom often serve as large employers.
“The proposed language would not make North Carolina an outlayer,” said Gary Salamido with the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, “but more in line with the national trend.”
Some said that argument is wrong.
“This is just a bad idea,” said Janet Ward Black, an attorney from Greensboro. “This is a bill that does nothing. It doesn't draw industry here. It doesn't draw jobs. All it does is limit North Carolinians right to compensation when they are injured from the wrong doing of a corporation.”
For families like the Prewitts, they said no compensation will bring their granddaughter back, but that doesn't mean the drug company should get away without punishment.
“Everyone should be responsible for their actions and whatever devastation they might cause any family,” said Prewitt.
This proposal is in a Senate subcommittee. The group will meet again next month.