Friday, March 6, 2009

Bill Reintroduced to Allow Suits Against Medical Device Makers

The AP reports that one "day after the Supreme Court decided that federal rules do not protect drugmakers from state lawsuits," Democratic lawmakers "reintroduced a bill that would allow similar lawsuits against companies that make heart devices, catheters, hip replacements and other devices." In 2008, "the Supreme Court agreed with the pre-emption policy in a case [Riegel v. Medtronic] involving medical devices, ruling a patient injured by a catheter from Medtronic could not sue under state laws. That case turned on a provision of federal law prohibiting states from imposing their own requirements on the devices," but "there's no similar provision for drugs." Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) "and other Democrats said...that decision ignored decades of precedent." The AP adds that "the bill to restore liability claims against device makers is co-sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)," who "is expected to hold hearings on the issue in coming weeks."

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