Say you take medication to control diabetes, but as a side effect, you go blind. If this side effect is not listed in the safety information of the name-brand form of your medication, you can pursue legal action against the drug makers. Common sense, right? Now, if the medication is not the name-brand form but the generic version of the drug, federal laws prevent you from taking any kind of legal action.

Under current federal laws, generic drug makers cannot update the safety labels on their products until the name-brand drug makers change the labeling on their drugs first. What this means is that you, as a consumer, not only may be at risk every time you use generic drugs due to improper safety labels, but also that you may be powerless to recover if you are harmed. Considering that almost 70 percent of all prescriptions filled in the United States are for generic drugs, this is a real concern.

However, a Senate bill proposed by Senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken – and now supported by a group representing state Attorney Generals — seeks to give all users of prescription drugs the same legal rights if and when they suffer a side effect not noted on the safety information.

I say, it is about time.

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