Dearinger v. Eli Lilly and Co.
Dearinger v. Eli Lilly and Co. (Supreme Court of Washington, June 2, 2022): The Washington Supreme Court held that drug companies are not obligated to warn patients about risks associated with medications directly marketed to consumers. Dearinger sued Eli Lilly in 2021, alleging he suffered a stroke after taking Cialis, which Eli Lilly markets directly to consumers. Dearinger argued that Eli Lilly failed to adequately warn consumers about risks of stroke associated with Cialis. Eli Lilly argued that manufacturers can satisfy their duty to warn by providing warnings to prescribing physicians, who then can provide that information to patients, under the “learned intermediary doctrine.” The state supreme court rejected Dearinger’s argument to carve out an exception for drugs marketed to consumers, holding that manufacturers meet obligations to warn patients as long as they have adequately warned physicians, who are better equipped to communicate risks to patients than drug manufacturers. Read the full decision here.