Brand Name vs. Generic Drugs: Who is Liable?

Here’s a scenario: You take a generic drug instead of the branded version because the price is less for the exact same drug. However, you experience horrible side effects and decide to take legal action. Can you sue the manufacturer of the brand-name drug for damages done by the generic version, even though they’re almost always made by different companies?


The Supreme Court says you can. Federal law requires generic drugs to have the same ingredients, safety profile, and warning labels as brand-name drugs. In 2011, the Supreme Court actually protected the manufacturer of a generic drug from product liability. Since the warning label that describes potential side effects was dictated by FDA requirements and was originally imposed on the brand-name drug, the company that made the generic drug couldn’t be held liable for any injuries or side effects.

The ruling makes sense. Since the generic drug isn’t anything but a less-expensive copy of the original drug, it’s logical that whoever actually created the drug should be held liable for any injury or damage caused.

Side effects from brand-name or generic drugs can be very serious. To find out how you can pursue compensation for damages you’ve suffered, visit for more information or call (702) 364-1650 for a free consultation.

What do you think? Should big pharmaceutical brands take responsibility for generic drugs? Share your thoughts below!

Main photo by KT of Lake Orion