A group of pharmaceutical companies, including Allergan (NYSE:AGN) and Merck (NYSE:MRK), have asked the Supreme Court to review a case between the industry players and patients regarding the design of the companies’ eye-droppers, according to a report from the AP.
In the on-going legal debate, patient groups have claimed that the companies’ devices dispense large drops of medication that overwhelm the eye and ultimately waste expensive drug product. The users also allege that if the bottle was properly designed to dispense smaller drops of medicine, they would pay less.
The companies have pushed back, arguing that patients can’t sue in federal court based on a theoretical eye-dropper. They also shouldn’t be allowed to hypothesize how much money a redesigned bottle would save them, according to the report.
The pharmaceutical companies pointed out that a new bottle would have to be cleared by the FDA, which could possibly result in establishing a larger price-tag to recoup the costs linked with landing regulatory approvals.
The courts haven’t reached a decision over whether the patient groups can sue the drugmakers; a federal appeals court in Chicago threw out an eye-dropper lawsuit, while a federal appeals court in Philadelphia allowed a similar case to move forward.
One advocate representing the drug companies told the AP that the eye-dropper lawsuit could open the floodgates to other design-related cases, like a lawsuit brought by “toothpaste users whose tubes of toothpaste did not allow every bit of toothpaste to be used,” Kannon Shanmugam told the news outlet.