Once again, the North Carolina legislature is contemplating a bill that would protect drugmakers and and those selling medications from liability in lawsuits. The legislation would make it harder for North Carolina consumers to recover damages from harm allegedly suffered by a prescription drug than citizens in any other state in the US, except Michigan. A hearing was held yesterday.
Meanwhile…in Michigan… an amendment was added yesterday to the state budget that requires the state attorney general to report money lost by Michigan residents, who are not allowed to participate in federal class-action lawsuits brought by states against drugmakers whose products were found to be harmful. They are precluded from participation because the state offers drugmakers immunity.
At issue in each instance is preemption, which is the notion that FDA approval supercedes state law claims challenging safety, efficacy, or labeling. Drugmakers and the FDA unsuccessfully argued two years ago before the US Supreme Court that preemption exists by maintaining the agency’s actions are the final word on safety and effectiveness.