The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently addressed the question of what pleading standard is required in Massachusetts to allege parallel state law claims involving medical devices to avoid preemption under the federal law regulating medical devices. The Court’s decision sheds light on the lack of consensus among state and federal courts on this issue, which may impact the time and resources that litigants and the courts expend on claims that may later prove to be meritless.
With each passing year, the long-predicted aspirational advantages of 3D printing in the life sciences industry become a reality. Forecasts of large scale printing operations at or near major hospitals are fulfilled. Visions of bioprinted organs have become a reality. 3D printing is reaching the lofty potential projected by the life sciences industry years ago. However, the topic of litigation risks with 3D printing in the life science industry is often overlooked. […]
Yet, the widespread use of additive manufacturing by companies and individuals outside of the life sciences industry also underscores the potential litigation risks with 3D printing.
On October 24, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new draft guidance entitled “Breast Implants—Certain Labeling Recommendations to Improve Patient Communication.” The draft guidance “contains recommendations concerning the content and format for certain labeling information for saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants.”
In its announcement, FDA noted that it has received “new information pertaining to risks associated with breast implants, including breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma” and additional illnesses attributed to breast implants. Complications related to breast implants have been widely reported over the last year, with other symptoms, including increased presence of autoimmune disease in women who have received breast implants, as well as muscle and joint pain, fatigue and weakness, and certain cognitive difficulties. These proposed labeling requirements also follow FDA warnings issued to two implant manufacturers who had failed to carry out adequate postmarket surveillance of the implants as a condition of their approval, as well as an FDA request that another manufacturer recall certain textured breast implant products.
On May 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a rare unanimous decision in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht, et al., holding that judges, not juries, must decide whether state law failure-to-warn claims against brand-name drug manufacturers are preempted by the FDA’s labeling regulations. In so holding, the Court further clarified the preemption standard set forth in an earlier decision, Wyeth v. Levine, concluding that such claims are preempted where a drug manufacturer can show “that it fully informed the FDA of the justifications for the warning required by state law and that the FDA, in turn, informed the drug manufacturer that the FDA would not approve changing the drug’s label to include that warning.”