The Learned Intermediary Doctrine: A Historical Review

Law360, New York (October 16, 2014, 9:57 AM EDT) -- The learned intermediary doctrine is a long-recognized exception for manufacturers of prescription drugs to the general rule that manufacturers have a duty to warn end-users directly about the risks of their products. Specifically, the rule shields prescription drug manufacturers from product liability provided they have adequately warned the prescribing physician as opposed to the patient about the risks inherent in a drug.

The rule is premised on the assumption that a patient can only obtain prescription drugs from a doctor, and that the doctor is in the best position to assess the risks and benefits of a drug for a particular...

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