“Brand” New Law: Illinois Court Holds Brand Manufacturers Owe Duty of Care to Generic Users

Last week, a federal district court in Illinois held that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a branded drug manufacturer, owed a duty of care to a patient who took the generic version of its drug. Dolin v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., No. 1:12-cv-06403, slip op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 28, 2014). This holding is a surprising deviation from the current trend, as most courts have held that “innovator liability” does not apply where plaintiff claimed injury from taking the generic product.


The plaintiff, Wendy Dolin, is the widow of Stewart Dolin, who was an M&A partner at Reed Smith at the time of his death. Mr. Dolin was prescribed Paxil in 2010 for work-related anxiety and depression and, under Illinois’ substitution law, his prescription was ultimately filled with generic paroxetine manufactured by Mylan. Six days after he began to take paroxetine, Mr. Dolin died after jumping in front of a train in Chicago.

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