This Bill Would Kill Innovation

The Washington Times today takes editorial notice of Michael Kinsley’s testimony Tuesday in a House committee on the Medical Device Safety Act, legislation that would encourage litigation against manufacturers of FDA-approved devices. From “Patients in the crossfire“:

Mr. Kinsley’s testimony on Tuesday reminded lawmakers that patients other than a plaintiff in a particular courtroom can be seriously affected, and victimized, by such trials.

Mr. Kinsley suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He testified that his disease is controlled – and his quality of life considerably enhanced – by “wires in my head and two pacemaker-type batteries in my chest,” which are the result of surgery called deep-brain stimulation.

“So here’s the problem,” he said. “We all want the government to protect us from dangerous drugs and devices. But we don’t want the government to prevent us from getting helpful or even lifesaving drugs and devices. Yet the most important drugs and devices are both. They save lives, and they can cost lives. The government’s job is to weigh the risks against the benefits . . . [The FDA] set* a uniform standard for everyone in every state.

And if the bill passes?

This bill would kill innovation. If manufacturers know they will be subject not just to regulation by the FDA but to uncertain justice under 50 different state standards, the manufacturers are far less likely to bring that device to the market. All those other beneficiaries – the Michael Kinsleys of the world – would be harmed by a law undermining the FDA’s authority.

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