According to a recent disclosure report, medical device maker Medtronic, Inc. spent more than $1.2 million lobbying Congress in the first quarter. The company lobbied lawmakers on a bill aimed at updating the U.S. patent system and on legislation that would increase the regulation of medical devices manufactured in foreign countries.
Additionally, Medtronic lobbied against efforts in the House to make it easier for patients to sue medical device companies. The Medical Device Safety Act was recently introduced and, if passed, will restore the right to pursue state court claims for injuries caused by defective medical devices.
Last year the United States Supreme Court ruled in Riegel v. Medtronic that manufacturers of class III medical devices that have been approved by the FDA’s pre-market approval process are essentially immune from liability. Medical device companies are shielded from patient lawsuits at the state court level, and the immunity could apply even in instances when a company actually knew that a device was defective and dangerous and when the device has been recalled. The medical device industry has argued that overriding the decision would allow state courts to second-guess the FDA’s medical experts. The Medical Device Safety Act is needed to restore patients’ rights.
Sources: Associated Press
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