Learned intermediary is a defense doctrine used in the legal system of the United States. This doctrine states that a manufacturer of a product has fulfilled his duty of care when he provides all of the necessary information to a "learned intermediary" who then interacts with the consumer of a product. This doctrine is primarily used by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in defense of tort suits.
In a clear majority of states, the courts have accepted this as a liability shield for pharmaceutical companies.
This doctrine was adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in Hollis v Dow Corning.
The use of the term "learned intermediary" was first used in the Eighth Circuit decision of Sterling Drug v. Cornish (370 F.2d 82, 85), in 1966, and has now become the prevailing doctrine in the majority of jurisdictions in the United States.
Recently, this doctrine has been called into question[by whom?] due to the increased use of direct to consumer advertising, whereby drug manufacturers market pharmaceutical products to individuals rather than to doctors.
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