Bill would allow patients to sue devicemakers in state courts

Last year, the Supreme Court gladdened the hearts of devicemakers when it concluded that plaintiffs couldn't sue them in state court over alleged damages resulting from FDA-approved products. The court bought the devicemakers' argument that because the FDA had approved the products, these matters belonged in federal court only.

Now, however, a bill is pending in Congress that would negate the Supremes' decision. The Medical Device Safety Act of 2009, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), would once again allow plaintiffs to sue for damages in state courts, at least if that state's laws allowed it.

At a recent hearing, opponents of the bill suggested that the bill might push devicemakers to refuse to sell their products in states that allowed local lawsuits. But Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), argued that the Supreme Court decision was flawed because it shifted the cost of caring for injured patients away from the manufacturers and onto taxpayers.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)