The Medical Device Safety Act of 2009

In the April 2009 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, the executive editor, managing editor and editor-in-chief of the highly regarded medical publication joined together to write an editorial that calls for Congress to allow lawsuits against medical device manufacturers.  The attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm are supporting this effort to insure that medical device manufacturers are held to the same standards as the companies that make pharmaceutical drugs.

In the straightforward article, which you can read here, respected doctors Gregory Curfman, Stephen Morriseey and Jeffrey Drazen take issue with the 2008 decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, where the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time ruled that medical device manufacturers are shielded from liability lawsuits even if their products cause injuries or deaths as long as the products in question have marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The doctors are asking Congress to pass the Medical Device Safety Act of 2009, which was introduced by Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-CA), chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), chair of the Health Subcommittee. The combination of this bill along with a similar bill introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), would render the Riegel decision obsolete by insuring that federal law does not preempt suits against medical device companies.

The Lanier Law Firm agrees with the physician authors who state in the editorial, “Patients and physicians deserve to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of medical devices, and the companies making the devices should be held accountable if they fail to achieve this standard.”

For more information, contact The Lanier Law Firm.

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