Michigan HB 4044, 4045, & 4046

This morning, I open up my copy of the Lansing State Journal and what do I see on the page opposite the opinions? A full-page ad from the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce.

What does the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce want?

They want companies that produce drugs to remain free from product liability lawsuits. They also want companies that produce drugs or herbal supplements to remain free from having to accurately describe the risks involved in taking such drugs or herbal supplements.

Their reasoning? It would be bad for the business climate in a state that’s losing so many jobs from the auto industry downturn. Nice try. Pfizer is laying off people right now. Whether or not they can be liable the same way any other industry can is not the issue. Michigan hasn’t seen the promised rush of pharmaceutical companies here since the “tort reform” bill passed in 1996, despite the fact that other states don’t “protect” pharmaceutical companies in the same way. There is no cause and effect with the previous bill, other than to take away a form of legal recourse and justice for consumers.

Instead of attempting to play on Michigan citizens’ anxieties about the job climate, the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce would be better off (and the state of Michigan better served) by continuing to focus its energies on enticing businesses to relocate here, encouraging businesses to grow, and boosting tourism. Not on a pet-peeve of the Republican party. So-called Tort Reform always means consumers lose out to the interests of well-funded Big Business.

You can read the full summary of House Bills 4044 and 4045 here. It says in part:

Together, the bills would eliminate the current ban on product liability lawsuits involving prescription drugs approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and would create a three-year window in which claims could be filed for injuries attributable to FDA-approved drugs during the time the ban was in place.

For House Bill 4046:

The Michigan Consumer Protection Act contains a list of actions that constitute unfair, unconscionable, or deceptive methods, acts, or practices in the conduct of trade or commerce, and that are unlawful. House Bill 4046 would add to that list:

Failing to accurately represent the risks involved in the intended use of a prescription or over-the-counter drug or medication or an herbal product, dietary supplement, or botanical extract.

You can read the full summary here.

These bills should pass through both houses and be signed into law by Governor Granholm. It’s the right thing to do.


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