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Wayne Parsons
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Federal Preemption Puts Consumers At Risk According To Observers

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In an op-ed in the Des Moines Register (3/20) Joel Olah, executive director of aging resources of central Iowa, wrote,

"Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of medical-device manufacturers and against consumers in a case that has ramifications on the individual rights of thousands of Iowans." He added that "this issue is extremely important to aging Iowans, who along with many other older Americans are increasingly reliant on medical devices to sustain life."

Olah said, "Federal pre-emption puts consumers at risk because the federal government does not always get it right and cannot identify every safety problem" and "the legal system serves as an important check and balance while giving manufacturers an incentive to improve products so that more consumers are not injured or killed." Concluding, he wrote, "Iowans have relied on their state courts to be an effective check and balance on manufacturers who produce dangerous products. Congress should act quickly to restore that balance."

Juries should not be allowed to make decisions on product safety, lawyer says. In an op-ed in the Kansas City Star (3/21) Bert Rein, partner at Wiley Rein and of counsel to Wyeth in the Levine case, wrote, "Congress created federal public health agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration because it takes experts to consider the complexities and the risks and benefits of prescription drugs and medical devices." The Star says that "by permitting lay juries to second-guess the FDA’s decisions on what options doctors should have available in administering prescription drugs, the Supreme Court’s decision in Wyeth v. Levine creates uncertainty for patients and doctors by placing the experience of a single patient above the public health interests of everyone." He concluded that "elevating risk avoidance over utility is not always the best way to regulate."

What do you think? Are citizens incapable of telling right from wrong? Should the FDA be the final word on drugs even if it turns out the drug is harming patients and has defects that the FDA missed? Do you trust the government?