Articles Posted in Preemption

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Lobbying efforts, particularly by injured victims and their counsel (as well as manufacturers of medical devices), are continuing for the Medical Device Safety Act of 2009. It’s no surprise that each side takes the position it takes—the victims hoping to pass the legislation to prevent more blanket immunity for manufacturers of devices that hurt or kill patients, and manufacturers hoping to reap the benefits of zero liability for some of their devices which cause injury. However, it is interesting to note that one group, which has typically opposed the desires of victims, has also weighed in.

Physicians are coming out to support the Medical Device Safety Act. Typically, they support tort reform and anything to prevent or limit lawsuits against healthcare providers. However, in a New England Journal of Medicine Editorial of April 9, 2009, three physicians took a stand behind the proposed legislation. Continue Reading

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Yesterday, the Health Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on the Medical Device Safety Act of 2009 (H.R. 1346). This new law that would restore important the rights of defective medical devices that were eradicated by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Riegel v. Medtronic. The Medical Device Safety Act would restore the right of victims injured by a defective medical device to seek tort remedies for injuries and deaths.

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) said at the hearing that the Supreme Court’s decision was flawed because preventing injured patients from suing device makers over FDA-approved products results in shifting the cost of caring for injured patients away from medical device companies who cause the injuries onto the already burdened American taxpayer.

Point of Law has a full list of those who testified before the subcommittee. One of those speakers is Michael Kinsley, a liberal columnist who wrote a silly editorial on Medtronic v. Riegel that showed off his complete lack of understanding of the facts of the case. I’m not saying an argument can’t be made – Justice Scalia did just that.