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Law, Ethics, and the Pharmaceutical Industry

Read the Saray Perez v. Wyeth Laboratories Inc. case starting on page 271 of your text and then address the following questions:

1) What is the Learned Intermediary Rule? Explain the context in which it became law.

2) On what legal grounds does the majority believe that the Learned Intermediary Rule does not apply where drugs are advertised directly to consumers? How does the dissent view this issue?

3) From a consumer perspective, what are the pros and cons of DTC advertising?

4) Who are the major stakeholders in the pharmaceutical direct-to-consumer scenario? Does this type of marketing create "the greatest happiness for the greatest number," in utilitarian terms? What might a deontological thinker say about DTC marketing?


Solution Preview

1.The learned intermediary rule is a rule that basically states that pharmaceutical companies are required to warn doctors of the potential dangers, and or potential side effects that may result from the use of a drug, but these companies are not required to warn the patients of these doctors concerning these potential dangers. The learned intermediary rule became law under the context of the long-held belief that the doctor typically knows what's best, as well as the long-held tradition in America of the doctor providing medications compounded by local pharmacists to their patients, which more often than not were provided through house calls. Invariably, this rule became law as a result of the "Logan V. Greenwich Hospital Association".(Case.docx)

2. The majority believes that the learned intermediary rule does not apply where drugs are advertised directly to ...