Developments in technology are driving major change across all sectors and, in many cases, these changes are significantly impacting legal developments in a particular industry. In the past, pharmaceutical and medical device product liability litigations typically commenced following major regulatory action by the US Food and Drug Administration, such as a label change or a product withdrawal. However, the increasing accessibility of real-world data, social media and post-marketing adverse event reporting has flipped the script: increasingly, litigation over pharmaceutical or medical device liability precedes regulatory scrutiny.

At the same time, social media has made it easier for plaintiffs’ lawyers to advertise for potential plaintiffs and aggregate their claims into litigations that become mass torts before the FDA can evaluate all the available evidence. As a result, the bar for safety issues to lead to claims that ultimately result in mass tort litigation has never been lower.

Read more about the impact of big data and social media on the commencement of mass tort litigation in a DLA Piper Litigation Alert here.