Learned Intermediary Doctrine

Maryland Law on Drug Companies Duty to WarnCourt House

The learned intermediary doctrine, which has been adopted by almost every jurisdiction in some form, provides that manufacturers of prescription drugs and medical devices discharge their obligation to the end user of the product by providing warnings to the prescribing doctor. In other words, drug companies have no obligation to directly warn patients about the risks associated with their drugs or medical devices. The rationale for this is that prescription drugs are often complex and prescribing doctors can take into account the propensities of the drug, as well as the susceptibilities of his patient and properly weigh the risk against the benefits.

Maryland law also recognizes the "learned intermediary" doctrine, which provides that manufacturers need only warn the prescribing physician and not the patient directly. Ames v. Apothecon, 431 F. Supp. 2d 566 (D.Md. 2006). Drug companies selling drugs or medical devices have no duty to directly warn patients. But they still have an obligation to make doctors aware - usually via the package insert - of the risks associated with their drugs or medical devices. It is up to the doctor to make the right call as to whether the drug or device is appropriate for a particular patient.

Our Maryland products liability lawyer are reviewing both individual and class action lawsuits in the Baltimore-Washington throughout the country, often dealing with drug and device companies failure to properly warn doctors about the risks associated with certain drugs or medical devices (a partial list is provided below). If you want to discuss your case with one of our products liability lawyers or get information on a particular class action lawsuit pending, call us at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free Internet consultation.

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