(photo: dreamstime)

House Dems Look To Repeal Law Protecting Profits Of Deadly Rx Corps

Signed into law during the Engler administration

June 25, 2018 - 1:35 pm

LANSING — Michigan Democrats introduced a plan today to repeal a 1995 law that protects the profits of pharmaceutical companies who knowingly manufacture or distribute harmful drugs. The state’s last-in-nation law prevents Michiganders, or the state itself, from holding pharmaceutical companies accountable when their dangerous products harm or even kill people. The Democratic plan laid out in HB 6224-6 not only repeals the backwards corporate protections, but it makes the repeal retroactive, providing Michigan families and communities with a new tool to hold wealthy drug companies accountable according to state Rep. Brian Elder. 

“Forty-nine states understand that the health and safety of people should come before big pharma’s profits, but in Michigan, Republicans like Attorney General Bill Schuette rigged the rules against working families,” says Elder (D-Bay City). “Democrats know there is no good reason that a wealthy drug company should play by a different set of rules than the rest of us. That’s especially true when our state is facing an epidemic of drug overdoses, deaths and crime caused by addictions to opiates that often begin with prescription pain medicine.”

Michigan is the only state in the nation that provides immunity for pharmaceutical companies from legal action related to the sale or false advertisement of dangerous drugs says Elder.  

The 1995 legislation, co-sponsored and defended by then-state Senator Bill Schuette, was originally passed by Republican majorities with the hope of bringing pharmaceutical jobs to the state. But that did not happen -- companies like Pfizer left Michigan and took thousands of jobs with them

A message has been left for Schuette to respond to the house bill. 

More than fifty Michigan cities and counties recently joined a national class action lawsuit against major opioid manufacturers for their alleged role in the opioid crisis. However, Elder notes, Michigan’s drug immunity law makes it unclear whether the manufacturers can be held accountable in Michigan.