The plaintiff is a registered nurse who, in 1962, contracted pneumonia. Her doctor, an internist, determined that the proper treatment was an antibiotic, marketed by a certain drug company.
The drug resulted in the plaintiff suffering a grave and usually fatal blood disorder known as aplastic anemia. The drug was promoted, among other methods, through the use of advertisements which were contained on simple, six-inch rulers which were provided to physicians, nurses, and hospitals as a handy measuring device. There were no warnings on these rulers which would serve to alert those physicians or nurses who read the ad to possible dangers inherent in the use of the drug.