An upcoming Senate debate on medical liability has potential implications for the medical device industry.
Republican senators have designated May 1-5 as "Health Week," during which they plan to introduce and debate medical malpractice reform legislation. But the Senate draft does not include the product-liability protections for medical device and pharmaceutical companies included in a similar bill, HR 5, approved last year in the House of Representatives.
In their attempt to get those protections included in the Senate bill, devicemakers and industry groups have joined medical societies, physician groups, hospitals and insurance companies to form the Health Coalition on Liability and Access (HCLA). The group will develop ads promoting caps on punitive damages, and run those ads in states where senators are up for reelection and where the HCLA says the problem of rising malpractice insurance premiums is the worst: New Jersey, Delaware, North Dakota and Idaho.