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Congress should protect us

Dear Editor:

American consumers have received a one-two punch from the Bush Administration and the Supreme Court that places them at risk of injury and death. The Bush Administration has placed industry lobbyists and political hacks in charge of agencies whose job it is to protect consumers, workers and the environment. These agencies (FDA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, EPA and Department of Interior) have let in to the U.S. children’s toys coated with lead paint, tainted pet food and contaminated toothpaste. The Bush EPA fights state efforts to deal with global warming and Department of Interior managers are dismissed after suppressing scientific data that would protect endangered species.

Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that if the FDA approves a medical device, that approval pre-empts any consumer injury lawsuits in state courts. There is no federal recourse for the injured consumer, either. So, if a consumer is injured or killed by an implanted defibrillator, a heart pump, or a drug-coated stent, for example, the person injured cannot sue the manufacturer.



The Supreme Court also is set to rule on a similar case in the fall involving FDA approval of drugs. A similar ruling would be a disaster, given what we have learned about drug company suppression of adverse studies of their drugs. We have a Democratic Congress now. The Bush foxes cannot be removed from their positions guarding the executive branch chicken coops ” yet. That will take a democratic win in the fall. But Congress can insert protections in the FDA act immediately to restore consumers’ access to state tort law, when they are injured or killed by an

FDA-approved medical device or drug. That is the least that a democratic Congress can do.




Albert Slap

Aspen

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