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North Carolina Bill Draft Proposes to Restrict Product Liability Suits

Yesterday, in the North Carolina General Assembly, a draft of a bill which proposes to protect drug makers and those selling medications from liability lawsuits was discussed. The drugs and medications protected by this proposed bill must be approved by any state or federal government agency. The bill is expected to be introduced formally this week. The only state to currently have a similar law in place that protects drug makers is Michigan. Michigan’s protection of drug makers include any drug approved by the FDA, but does not have an exception for when fraud has been committed to approve a drug. The proposed bill discussed in the NC General Assembly included the following exceptions:

• Those who sell after federal agency has ordered a withdraw.
• Alterations to the medicine
• Withholding or misrepresenting info that led the drug to be approved
• Bribe of government official leading to approval

Quotes:

“If this ultimately becomes law, it means that the people of North Carolina would be unable to recover damages if they were harmed by a drug. The state would say there’s no recovery for dangerous products. And by the way, it’s not limited just to drugs”

“To have this very broad regulatory immunity for any product that has any regulatory oversight, well, it seems to be it’s going to one of a kind”

“These proposals would benefit CEOs of corporations, drug companies and groups like the North Carolina Medical Society at the expense of the average North Carolinian. These priorities are upside down.”

North Carolina Advocates for Justice CEO, Dick Taylor

“Companies look for fairness and predictability”

Vice President for government relations at drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, John F. Del Giorno

Resources for article and more information:
North Carolina Bill To Restrict Product Liability Suits – Pharmalot
House Bill Would Shield Drug Makers – News & Observer
Tort Reform for Citizens and Business – General Assembly of NC

* Photo courtesy of steakpinball via Flickr Creative Commons.

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