Drug development can be hazardous. Recently, a California court held that product users could sue the drug manufacturer, Gilead, for negligence in failing to commercialize a product different from the one they used. Two conditions are yet to be proven to sustain their claim: that Gilead had actual knowledge the new product was safer and that the decision was solely financially driven. But, even if those facts are proven, they are still not enough to sustain a lawsuit.
Last week, a California court issued a ruling construed as being anti-industry. The decision defines a company's legal duty to its consumers when a competing and allegedly safer drug is in the development pipeline. Astonishingly, the judicial opinion also insinuates itself into corporate product-development strategies. But does this case really establish the broad anti-industry precedent that some fear?
Until recently, it looked like the African AIDS epidemic might finally be controlled, with the widespread use of anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs. But poor compliance has caused HIV to mutate in a way such that tenofovir, one of the most important ARV drugs, often no longer works, threatening not only Africa, but world as well.