Proposal Would Limit Liability of Drug Manufacturers
North Carolina is currently considering a bill that would drastically reform patients’ rights within the state. One of the major components of this bill will limit the liability of drug manufacturers when their products cause unintended results. The bill would restrict the ability of patients to pursue damages if the drug in question had been approved by a governmental agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is the agency charged with screening all of the pharmaceutical drugs that are prescribed for use within the U.S. Michigan is the only other state with a similar rule in place.
Critics contend that this law would allow manufacturers to get a free pass when their drugs cause a person’s condition to deteriorate. They do not want to make an overworked federal agency such as the FDA ultimately responsible for the actions of pharmaceutical companies and drug sellers. Any issues that would arise in the course of treatment could be ignored if the drug had been properly approved, which could negatively impact many patients. The courts would no longer be allowed to decide whether or not the companies caused greater harm to patients.
Proponents of the bill express confidence that the rule would allow a predictable business climate within the state. Companies would not need to be worried about being subject to extremely costly defective products or medical malpractice lawsuits, and would be able to better understand the risks of doing business in North Carolina.
If the law does eventually pass, it could find itself challenged in the court system. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has already heard a case dealing with FDA approval and failure to warn claims against manufacturers. The Court allowed the claim to proceed, maintaining that federal law did not restrict a patient’s right to file suit even though the drug had been approved by the FDA.
The bill could have a major impact on medical care within the state. Residents will want to stay informed on its status.