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Court Holds that Federal Law Preempts State Law Drug Labeling Claims


In the Bextra/Celebrex multidistrict litigation, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the trial judge has ruled that plaintiffs’ claims that defendant Pfizer failed to warn about the cardiovascular risks of Celebrex were preempted by the FDA’s authority to determine prescription drug labels.  This decision came after the January 2006 publication by the FDA of a new prescription drug labeling regulation that contained a preamble which states that FDA regulations preempt state law failure to warn lawsuits against drug manufacturers and health care practitioners.  A number of cases in other states this past year, however, have held that federal law does not preempt state drug labeling claims.   In re: Bextra and Celebrex Marketing Sales Practices and Product Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1699, No. 05-1699 (N.D. Calif. 2006)