We just got an email from a legal service (BNA, for you lawyers, but which one really doesn’t matter much) reporting on HR 6381, introduced on June 26, “that would reverse the effects of a recent Supreme Court decision [Riegel] on medical device lawsuits.” Anybody who doesn’t know what Riegel‘s about probably shouldn’t be here, but just in case, here’s a link to a post that explains that case.
We saw the same thing the other day in 360.
Déjà vu all over again.
The “new” bill is verbatim identical with the anti-Riegel legislation that the same congressmen introduced three months ago, in March. We blogged about that bill at the time. There’s no change; it’s just as bad now as it was before.
Then, as now, the pro-litigation politicians called it the “Medical Device Safety Act of 2008” – but it doesn’t do anything to make any medical device safer. All it does is allow device manufacturers to be sued under product liability theories that conflict with the obligations imposed on them by the FDA: plaintiffs could demand that manufacturers use warnings the FDA hasn’t approved, take FDA-approved medical devices off the market, use different designs that the FDA has never looked at – that kind of thing.
Beyond that, we think the bill was – and remains – a very bad idea for all of the reasons we stated last March, and we’re not inclined to repeat ourselves.
We only wonder why the other side has gone through the bother of introducing the same bill twice and putting out a press release for something that’s, relatively speaking, old news. Not only that, but Congress’ summer recess is around the corner.
We figure it’s gotta be politics. When isn’t it in Congress? Nobody (but us crazy bloggers) paid attention when this bill was first introduced. But now, with the blare of presidential politics toned down a few notches, the politicians must figure that their targeted audience – potential big-dollar campaign contributors, of course – might be paying more attention to this sort of stuff.
So, while it’s old news, we’d just like to remind our side to pay attention, too.