The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday signaled its intention to permit generic drug makers to make changes to their safety labels, a move that could open the door to lawsuits against generic drug companies for the first time since a Supreme Court decision barred such suits two years ago.
Consumer advocates applauded the development, calling it a necessary fix for a system that they say is unfair to patients who take generic medicines.
“It’s common sense,” said Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, a senior adviser to the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, which in 2011 petitioned the F.D.A. to pass just such a rule. “It will obviously end this situation where people are being harmed physically and yet, although they are harmed, they have no right to go into court and get redress for serious damages.”