Michigan Democrats want to repeal a law enacted by Republicans in 1995 they say protects pharmaceutical companies instead of patients. That law gives pharma companies immunity from any legal action relating to its drugs that are found to harm or kill users.
Democratic state representatives Sam Singh, Brian Elder, Latanya Garrett and Pam Faris feel the law protects the profits of drug companies instead of Michigan victims and it needs to go.
“Since 1995, drug companies have had a get out of court free card in the state of Michigan” says Rep. Elder.
Currently, the law grants immunity to drug manufacturers as long as the FDA approved the drug when it was introduced, regardless of any information about its effects later. Michigan Democrats say it was enacted to bring pharmaceutical jobs to the state, but that it never had that effect.
“Those jobs never emerged,” says Singh. “The profits never helped those families, and we have actually hurt people who could have taken these companies and be able to get justice.”
Supporters of the repeal say Michigan is suffering from an opioid epidemic and believe drug companies may have mislead the public about the dangers of these highly addictive and deadly drugs. Lawsuits against drug manufacturers are piling up nationwide, except in Michigan — because this is the only state in America that protects pharmaceutical companies from litigation.
“What a horrific possibility,” says Rep. Elder, “that people who have loved ones who have passed away in the state of Michigan would be the only people in the entire country that can’t have those wrongs regressed.”
Democrats have been trying to get this law repealed since 2005.