In a case involving Philadelphia's Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal law related to pharmaceutical regulations preempts a person's ability to sue in state courts and allege that a generic drug is designed badly.

The 5-4 decision - split along the traditional conservative-liberal line - is a victory for the drug industry and, indirectly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The case is Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., v. Bartlett, 12-142.

Mutual used to be part of a private, stand-alone Philadelphia company, founded in 1946. URL Pharma was the parent of Mutual. But since the case began, URL Pharma was sold to Takeda Pharmaceuticals and then Sun Pharmaceuticals, so Sun inherited the ligation.

The case involves whether federal law regarding FDA rules overrules a patient's ability to sue a generic drug company for product design in state court. A New Hampshire woman, Karen Bartlett, suffered a horrible reaction to a generic drug made by Mutual.

A link to the Supreme Court opinion, with two dissents, is here.

A link to the page on the case is here.

A link to an Inquirer story, in advance of oral arguments in March, is here.