May 12, 2009
Congress is considering a bill known as the Medical Device Safety Act to give victims back their rights to sue the manufacturers of defective medical devices. In 2008, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Riegel v. Medtronic, which took away the rights of all consumers who were injured by faulty medical devices. The Court ruled that consumers can’t sue medical device companies over medical devices that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The decision in Medtronic was in sharp contrast to the Court’s decision in Wyeth v. Levine where the Court held that drug manufacturers cannot block lawsuits by claiming that they provided the minimal warnings required by the Food & Drug Administration when it did not warn of other known dangers. Congress is now stepping in to correct the problems created by the Medtronic decision and to give consumers back their rights to hold manufacturers of faulty medical devices accountable. At Montes Herald Law Group, L.L.P., we see this action as a positive step towards providing better and safer health care for everyone. The threat that a valid lawsuit has in holding these manufacturers accountable for their actions serves as a powerful incentive to test and manufacture safe medical products that are put into the stream of commerce.