Will the U.S. Supreme Court deny justice for Karen Bartlett?

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case known as Mutual Pharmaceutical v. Bartlett on March 19, 2013.  It centers around a woman who suffered devastating side-effects after taking the generic drug sulindac for shoulder pain.

Karen Bartlett of Plaistow, NH was left with Stevens-Johnson syndrome that left her with burns to more than 60% of her skin and 12 eye surgeries that left her nearly blind. She spent months in a coma and a year being tube-fed. She cannot drive, read, or eat normally. She is permanently disfigured and will need care for the rest of her life.  

The New York Times reports today:

...Ms. Bartlett is 53 and legally blind despite 13 eye operations. She said she struggled to reach the mailbox each day and could no longer drive or work. Her lungs are severely damaged, and she has trouble eating.

This will be the second time the Supreme Court will decide if generic drug manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their drugs.  Accountability is the key incentive to ensure that drug companies monitor and adequately warn patients about the safety of drugs.  Had Karen taken the brand drug, her case would not be before the Supreme Court.  But because her pharmacist filled the prescription with a generic drug, Karen’s legal rights are in question. 

Karen also told the NYT: 

'I think the generic companies as well as brand-name companies, they should be held accountable for the medicines that they put out there,' she said.

We think so, too.  But the outcome of this case could have significant implications for anyone who takes generic drugs, which make up 80% of the total prescription drug market.