This post comes from the Cozen O’Connor side of the blog only.

City of Chicago v. Purdue Pharma L.P., 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 60587 (N.D. Ill. May 8, 2015), deals with an effort by the City of Chicago to recover payments it made to drug companies on opioid prescriptions for City employees (and retirees) covered by HMO, PPO and worker’s compensation plans. Id. at *9-11.  Chicago claimed that it should get its money back because the drug companies misrepresented that the opioids were effective for more than short-term treatment of cancer pain.  The City lost—at least for the time being.

The City claimed that the drug companies had mounted a coordinated campaign to use key opinion leaders to write, speak and create guidelines on long-term opioid therapy, use professional and patient advocacy groups as marketing tools, develop and support medical journal articles on long-term opioid therapy, misuse CME programs to market such long-term therapy, and more.  In this campaign, according to the City, the drug companies overstated the effectiveness of opioids, downplayed the effectiveness of alternatives, and hid or understated risks such as addiction.  Id. at *4-9.  The City made common law fraud, conspiracy and unjust enrichment claims, and claims under certain Chicago municipal codes that, among other things, incorporated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Businesses Practices Act. E.g., Chicago Municipal Code § 2-25-90.  Chicago asked for its money back and, as is often the case, hired private counsel to help them get it.  Read here for our take a number of years ago on efforts by municipalities to recover these and other types of costs.


Continue Reading Another Municipality Tries to Recover Its Costs for Pharmaceuticals

This post is from the non-RS side of the blog only.

I didn’t know that the SPF value for sunscreens can reach higher than 100.  But they can.  As someone of Irish descent, someone who can burst into flames at the hint of sunlight like a John Carpenter vampire, I should have known that.  For instance, Coppertone markets a product called SPORT SPF 100+. I’m going to buy a case.

Now, some plaintiffs’ attorneys will tell me that I’m wasting my money.  Or, they might tell me that I have a lawsuit.

Or maybe I don’t.  Plaintiff Danika Gisvold brought a class action claiming that she paid an extra dollar for Coppertone SPORT SPF 100+ at Walmart, but it didn’t provide any more protection than Coppertone products with only an SPF value of 50 .  Gisvold v. Merck & Co., Inc., 2014 WL 6765718 (S.D.Cal.) (S.D. Cal. Nov. 25, 2014).  She thought she was getting double the protection, but she wasn’t.  She sued to get her dollar back and an order that Merck should issue a corrected label and corrective advertising.  Id. at *1.


Continue Reading When More Is Neither Better Nor a Lawsuit

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral argument on the Pom Wonderful case.  One thing we’ve learned is that Justice Kennedy doesn’t seem to like Coke’s label for its juice:

JUSTICE KENNEDY:  Is it part of Coke’s narrow position that national uniformity consists of labels that cheat the consumers like this one did?

MS. SULLIVAN: 

In the index to this blog, we list 39 posts about the Aredia-Zometa litigation.  After today it will be 40.  And counting.  That might actually be understating our coverage.  (We’re not always so punctilious at affixing topical labels to our posts.) Sometimes it seems as if one could understand all of recent drug and device

It’s the day after Labor Day.  For some it is the day they mourn the end of summer.  For some, it is the start of the countdown to the holiday season (58 days till Halloween, 86 days till Thanksgiving, 113 days till Christmas).  But for the vast majority, the first week of September means back to school.  Whether it is nervous kindergarteners heading out for the first time, surly teens who have to be dragged out of bed kicking and screaming, or college freshman quickly realizing why no upper classmen take Friday morning classes – it is all part of the back to school ritual.

Which got us thinking about some of the greatest school-based movies.  There are way too many to name, so apologies from the start if we miss your favorite.  But anyone’s short list for high school movies has to include The Breakfast Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Ferris Buehler’s Day Off, Grease, and Dazed and Confused.  Graduating to college you have Goodwill Hunting, The Social Network, The Paper Chase, Higher Learning, Old School, and Back to School

And, of course, the single best movie about college of all time – National Lampoon’s Animal House. “You guys playing cards?”  “Guess what I am now.”  “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” “Toga, Toga.”  And who could forget:  “Is that a pledge pin?  On your uniform?”  Of course, true classics like Animal House can’t be replicated, but they can be spoofed.


Continue Reading Monster Beverage Launches Preemptive Strike

San Francisco has always been a great restaurant town, and if anything, the food and dining options have only gotten better over the last 20 years.  Come to think of it, the food and dining scene has improved most everywhere, to the point that you can find a great meal in all parts across the country.  We’ve had the best shrimp and catfish we’ve ever eaten while taking depositions in the South, and, while recently vacationing in a New England town where we spent part of our youth, we could not help but notice the number of really good eateries that were not there before.  (Although one beloved greasy spoon had converted to a Starbucks, so not every change was an improvement.)  Our collective obsession with food is seen further in the proliferation of food-related television programming, including a Food Network, which we will unabashedly admit to watching and enjoying somewhat regularly.

We are waxing on about San Francisco and food for two reasons.  First, this is your blogger’s inaugural blog post, and my law practice is based in the City by the Bay.  I have long admired the Drug and Device Law Blog and especially its contributors, who for many years have carried a banner for those of us on the “right side of the v” with intelligence, wit, and above all relentlessness.  Day in and day out.  Although I am cut from much the same cloth as my co-bloggers, my voice originates from a point west of Princeton, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and I am thrilled to be joining the effort.

Second, the Northern District of California has become somewhat a center for food-related litigation. Some refer to it as the “Food Court,” although we believe that label is largely promoted by those interested in seeing food-related litigation gain legitimacy and expand.  We have written many times about food litigation, including here and here, because even though we are the Drug and Device Law Blog, the “F” in FDCA stands for Food, and we take lessons from food on such topics as preemption, primary jurisdiction, and claims for consumer remedies.

This leads to a recent order from the Northern District of California where the court dismissed food-related claims in ways that we like, but did not embrace one of our favorite grounds for dismissal – federal preemption.  In Kane v. Chobani, Inc., No. 12-cv-02425, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98752 (N.D. Cal. July 12, 2013), the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant had mislabeled its “Greek” yogurt products in three ways – by referring to the yogurt’s sweetener as “evaporated cane juice” when it essentially is just sugar; by falsely claiming “no sugar added” on its website; and by falsely stating that the products were “all natural.”  Id. at *3-*6.  Lawsuits of these kinds, and particularly those focused on whether products are “all natural,” unfortunately have become  familiar, which begs the question in our minds of how much consumers (1) read alleged representations like these and (2) attribute meaning to them in making their purchasing decisions.  Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.  We can’t tell without asking them.


Continue Reading Is Kane Sugar Parallel to Cane Sugar?

Sunday was a pretty good day. It was both Father’s Day and Bloomsday.  June 16 is called Bloomsday because that is the day that Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus wandered around Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses.  There is an all-day reading of Ulysses every June 16 at the Rosenbach Library in Philadelphia, the home