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Health, Science and Environment

House Democrats introduce plan to repeal drug liability law

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Democratic state Representatives say there’s currently a law that will kill lawsuits filed by Michigan counties against drug companies. And they want to get rid of it.

Legislation in the state House would repeal a law that says a drug seller or manufacturer cannot be sued for product liability if the drug is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and properly labeled.

Wendy Block is with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. She says Michigan residents can still sue drug companies. They just have to show that there was wrongdoing.

“We do think it is appropriate because it tries to strike a balance between just opening the floodgate to lawsuits and providing recourse for people who do believe they have injury.”

Lawmakers say drug companies have abused this law to push dangerous drugs that are approved by the federal government – like opioids.

Representative Brian Elder is a bill sponsor. He says, if a drug is later recalled or showed to be harmful, the current law means people can’t sue – and that is not OK.

“Simply having FDA approval does not guarantee that the drug maker did not act negligently or without malice. And when that happens or our people are hurt, something must be done.”

Michigan has been in the midst of an opioid crisis for years. Dozens of Michigan communities are in the middle of lawsuits against opioid makers to try and get back some of the money they’ve spent on the epidemic.