Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices

Chadbourne has a long history of serving and representing companies in the pharmaceutical industry through a full range of legal practices, including products liability and commercial litigation, corporate transactions, intellectual property and tax matters. Lawyers throughout the Firm effectively serve the needs of our pharmaceutical clients, which include manufacturers and distributors of both over-the-counter and prescription products as well as other medical devices.

Products Liability

Chadbourne has many years of experience serving the pharmaceuticals industry in the defense of products liability actions. Our products liability experience encompasses all facets of litigation in federal and state courts across the country.

We serve as national counsel to our clients in connection with products liability litigation involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices, including the manufacturer of the prescription pain medication OxyContin® and the manufacturer of over-the-counter “stimulant” laxative products. We have also defended a major cosmetics company in toxic tort litigation alleging personal injury. Chadbourne additionally brings a wealth of knowledge of and experience practicing in its local (New York and California) courts in connection with the defense of its pharmaceutical clients.

We advise our pharmaceutical and medical devices clients on all facets of products liability matters, including warnings, research and testing, marketing, customer inquiries, relations with trade organizations and legislative and regulatory matters. In addition, in an effort to limit risk of future litigation, our attorneys counsel pharmaceutical companies with respect to potential products liability issues from the earliest stages of a product’s life cycle through its production and marketing.

We defend and advise companies in connection with class actions, multi-district litigation, claims for disgorgement of profits, and actions by health insurers and governmental entities. Chadbourne has defended cases alleging traditional causes of action such as defective manufacture and failure to warn and product defect, as well as theories involving concert of action, medical monitoring, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Chadbourne has extensive experience working with company witnesses, as well as with outside consultants and expert witnesses, to ensure that complicated scientific, technological, and medical information is analyzed and conveyed in a manner that will be understandable to judges and juries.

Diverse Litigation Capabilities

Our litigators also have a broad range of experience in their non-products liability work with pharmaceutical companies. Representative matters encompass litigation involving breaches of marketing agreements, import pricing, trademark rights and FDA-approval efforts.

In both the products liability and other contexts, complex litigation for pharmaceutical companies often involves not just a single proceeding, but numerous related cases going forward simultaneously. Representing clients effectively in such situations can be as much about management skills as legal skills. Thus, we have strong capabilities in managing complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation across the country as national or coordinating counsel — skills critical to formulating and maintaining consistent strategy and legal and factual themes.

We are also experienced and accomplished appellate advocates, and have achieved notable victories in state and federal appellate courts across the United States. We also understand that disputes are often best resolved outside the courtroom. Thus, we make use of tools such as arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Corporate Transactions

Chadbourne has advised public and private pharmaceutical companies on all aspects of corporate transactions. Our clients also include financial institutions, venture capital firms and other investors who provide financing to such companies. Experience with a range of clients gives us the skills to address legal matters arising at companies of any size, from mature multinationals to start-ups developing their first products.

We have worked with clients on matters such as mergers and acquisitions, asset sales, joint ventures, strategic alliances, licensing agreements, product acquisitions, financings, authorized generic agreements and corporate governance. Our work includes private placements, debt and equity investments, bilateral financing and Euro credit facilities.

Chadbourne’s corporate lawyers regularly collaborate with colleagues from other practices, such as products liability and intellectual property, to provide cross-disciplinary solutions to our pharmaceutical clients’ issues.

Intellectual Property

Chadbourne’s intellectual property practice offers our clients the highly specialized legal and technical expertise of an intellectual property “boutique,” combined with the business and litigation skills of a multinational general practice law firm. The practice includes a strong focus on pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Our intellectual property skills support pharmaceutical clients in such areas as trademarks, copyrights, patent portfolio development and prosecution, licensing, due diligence and contracts.


Chadbourne has represented domestic and international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and their owners in various complex tax matters, including U.S. research tax credits and deductions; U.S. and foreign tax aspects of inbound and outbound licensing agreements; transfer pricing issues under U.S. and foreign tax laws; and federal, state, local, and foreign tax planning, structuring and tax controversies.

Representative Experience

Defeat of MDL Consolidation of Pharmaceutical Products Liability Actions
Purdue Pharma L.P.
Defeat of effort to consolidate OxyContin suits in a federal court.
Reversal of Certification of Statewide Class Action in Pharmaceutical Litigation
Purdue Pharma L.P.
Reversal by Ohio Supreme Court of lower court decisions certifying a class action in OxyContin litigation.
Defeat of Certification of Medical-Monitoring Class Action in Pharmaceutical Litigation
Purdue Pharma L.P.
Opposition to an effort in Ohio to certify a nationwide class action of OxyContin users.
Defeat of Statewide Class Certification in Personal Injury Action Involving Prescription Medication
Purdue Pharma L.P.
Defeat of an attempt in Indiana to certify a class action against OxyContin.
[ more representative experience ]

Related Practice Areas

Intellectual Property
Products Liability Counseling and Defense

Related Industries

Consumer Products
Food and Beverage

Related Regions

North America

Worldwide Contact

Donald I Strauber
New York
+1 (212) 408-5205

Mary T. Yelenick
New York
+1 (212) 408-5493

Local Office Contacts

Related Information