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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Michigan’s Drug Industry Immunity Upheld, Costing Victims and State Millions

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Back in March, I wrote several blogs about Michigan’s drug industry immunity law and its negative impact on injured patients and the State of Michigan. This past weekend, the Michigan Supreme Court refused to take up an appeal by the Attorney General’s office seeking to recoup tens of millions of dollars in state Medicaid payments to people who were injured by taking the drug Vioxx. Because Michigan law grants drug makers immunity from liability for FDA-approved drugs, the reasoning goes, the state cannot seek reimbursement of Medicaid funds from the landmark Vioxx settlement. As a result, the State of Michigan basically bilked itself out of about $20 million – an expense borne by taxpayers.

For years, the drug industry immunity law has done nothing but harm to Michigan residents. Originally passed to create a friendly climate for drug makers, the law backfired when pharmaceutical companies left the state. Now, defenders of the law argue that it is necessary to promote the life sciences industry in Michigan. This claim is simply untrue – Michigan’s one-of-a-kind drug industry immunity law is redundant and unjust. As State Representative Mark Meadows notes, Michigan law is already overly protective of product manufacturers so there is no good reason drug makers should receive special protection at the expense of individual consumers.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this pro-corporation, anti-consumer law must be repealed. It is time to hold this multi-billion dollar industry accountable for the injuries it causes.