Joseph K. Hetrick


Joseph K. Hetrick

Retired Partner

Philadelphia | Cira Centre, 2929 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA, United States of America 19104-2808
+1 215 994 2250 | +1 215 994 2222


Joseph K. Hetrick, a former partner of the mass torts and product liability group, focused his practice on product liability defense, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical and medical device cases.

Mr. Hetrick defended Philip Morris in tobacco litigation and represented Baxter Healthcare in the factor concentrate mass tort litigation throughout the world. He was part of Dechert’s national defense team representing GlaxoSmithKline in the Baycol litigation, and took a lead role in the Paxil litigation in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mr. Hetrick also played a central role in the litigation related to a painkiller for Merck & Co., and has served as trial counsel for Wyeth in the fen-phen litigation. He also handled product liability matters for clients such as West Pharmaceutical, York International Corporation, Stryker Corporation, and Airgas, Inc.

Mr. Hetrick has an extensive background in personal injury litigation, including medical malpractice and insurance litigation and has handled class action suits on behalf of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Mr. Hetrick has been regularly selected among Best Lawyers in America for product liability litigation since 2007.

  • Temple University, B.A., 1970, magna cum laude
  • Temple University Beasley School of Law, J.D., 1986, magna cum laude
  • Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Vice Chair of the Defense Research Institute’s Education and Publication Committee
  • Center for International Legal Studies’ Congress of Fellow
  • Adjunct professor of law at Temple University School of Law
  • Frequent speaker both in local and state bar organizations
Speaking Engagements
  • Pharmaceutical Law and Preemption in a Post-Levine World: Co-Chair Welcome Address — Harris Martin's Drug Litigation Conference, Philadelphia, PA (June 3, 2009)
  • Minimizing Litigation Risks for U.S. Entities Conducting International Clinical Trials — ACI's International Clinical Trials Conference, Boston,MA (September 27, 2007)
  • Direct Examination of the Defense Epidemiologist — ACI's Medical Device On Trial Conference, New York, NY (July 19, 2007)
  • Law Firm Marketing & Management — Center for International Studies' 5th Annual Convocation, Zurich (June 1, 2007)
  • Cross Border Marketing — DRI's Joint International Pre-Conference, London (May 16, 2007)
  • Identifying and Minimizing Litigation Risks of Clinical Trial Data and Post-Market Adverse Event Reports — C5 International's Managing Legal Risks in Structuring and Conducting Clinical Trials Conference, New York, NY (February 27, 2007)
  • Trial Advocacy I: Opening Statements, Science Witness Examination, and Jury Communication — ACI's 11th Annual Drug and medical Device Litigation Conference, New York, NY (December 14, 2006)
  • What are the ‘Hot Areas' in the United States Concerning FDA Regulations — C5 International's US FDA Regulation for European Bio-Pharma Industry Players, London (December 8, 2006)
  • Hot Issues Involving Clinical Trials in the US — C5 International's Clinical Trials Conference, London (November 30, 2006)
  • Strategies for Addressing Claims Based on Pre-and Post-Approval Clinical Data — 5th National Conference on managing Legal Risks in Structuring and Conducting Clinical Trials, Boston, MA (September 28, 2006)
  • The Latest Developments on Medical Monitoring — Drug and Medical Device Litigation: Expert Strategies for Leading Litigators and In-House Counsel, Chicago, IL (June 29, 2006)
  • How to Prepare and Handle Related Plaintiff's Actions — ACI's Program on Internal Investigations for the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries, New York, NY (April 27, 2006)
  • Latest Government Views & Enforcement Activities on Off-Label Communications — Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Counsel's Guide to Off-Label Communications, New York, NY (April 24, 2006)
  • Roundtable on Other Current Theories for Class Actions and Complex Litigation — ACI's 3rd National In-House Counsel Forum on Defending & Managing Complex Litigation, Atlanta, GA (March 30, 2006)
  • Defining ‘Overpromotion' in Light of Recent Litigation Trends — ACI's Minimizing Legal Risks in Drug Advertising and Promotion Conference, Philadelphia, PA (March 13, 2006)
  • Medical Monitoring - The Latest Claims and Developments — ACI's Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, New York, NY (December 13, 2005)
  • Latest Drug Liability Developments in the US - A Case and Regulatory Update — C5 International's Pharmaceutical Product Liability Strategies for Minimizing Legal Risks in an Increasingly Litigious Environment Conference, London (November 29, 2005)
  • Minimising Liability in Product Recall Situations — Pharmaceutical Law - A Global Perspective Post-Conference Briefing, Philadelphia, PA (November 4, 2005)
  • Training, Monitoring, and Ensuring Compliance By Sales Representatives — ACI's Fraud & Abuse in the Sale and Marketing of Drugs Conference, New York, NY (October 24, 2005)
  • Drug Safety and Product Liability — 2005 Drug Safety Congress, Washington, DC (September 30, 2005)
  • Use of Clinical Trial Data to Counter Potential Post-Marketing Claims — ACI's Managing Legal Risks in Conducting & Promoting Clinical Trials Forum, San Diego, CA (September 20, 2005)
  • Addressing the Practice of DTC Advertising: Boon or Bane to the Industry? — ACI's Third Annual Minimizing Legal Risks in Drug and Advertising and Promotion Practical Strategies for Compliance & Defense, Philadelphia, PA (June 12, 2005)
  • In-House Counsel Strategy Session: How Direct-to-Consumer Advertising and Promotional Practices Directly Impact Pharmaceutical Litigation —ACI's Third Annual Minimizing Legal Risks in Drug and Advertising and Promotion Practical Strategies for Compliance & Defense, Philadelphia, PA (June 12, 2005)