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Rider v. Sandoz Pharmaceutical Corp.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Bridget Saharath and Bonnie Rider sued the makers of a drug called Parlodel when they suffered hemorrhagic strokes after taking Parlodel.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Expert testimony is not admissible where scientific methodology is not implemented.

    Facts.

    Bridget Saharath and Bonnie Rider (Plaintiffs) took a drug called Parlodel and suffered hemorrhagic strokes. The Plaintiffs sued the designers of Parlodel, Sandoz Pharmaceutical Corporation (Sandoz), arguing that the drug caused the hemorrhagic strokes.  The district court excluded the Plaintiffs’ expert evidence and granted summary judgment in favor of Sandoz. The Plaintiffs appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether expert testimony is admissible where scientific methodology is not implemented?

    Held.

    No. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993) determined four factors for expert evidence to be admissible: (1) Whether the theory has and can be tested, (2) whether the theory has undergone peer review, (3) the rate of error, and (4) whether the theory is accepted within the medical community. The court concluded that the epidemiological studies in the case did not prove a causal link between Parlodel and hemorrhagic strokes. Similarly, case reports are not sufficient to prove causation. Similarly, the animal studies used by the plaintiffs does not show that the drug caused strokes or even high blood pressure; and the proof of ischemic stroke in other patients that have used Parlodel does not prove a sufficient connection to hemorrhagic stroke in the plaintiffs.

    Discussion.

    To determine whether scientific evidence is admissible in determining causation, courts cannot allow inferences that are unsupported by scientific methodology.


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