Governor signs repeal of Michigan's drug immunity law
A controversial state law that blocked Michiganders from suing drug companies has been repealed.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) signed the legislation repealing Michigan’s drug immunity law Thursday in Flint.
When former Gov. John Engler (R-MI) signed it in 1995, the original law was intended to make Michigan more attractive to the bio-medical industry.
But State Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) said the law simply kept many injured Michiganders from receiving damages for faulty medications.
“In other states, people were able to go to court. They were able to hold these companies accountable. And they were able to win compensation for their families that were harmed. But not in Michigan,” said Irwin.
Earlier this year, Michigan plaintiffs were dismissed from a lawsuit against pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which was being sued over a heartburn drug linked to kidney injuries. The company recently settled the case for $425 million.
Attorney Tiffany Ellis represents people suing drug companies. She says the law on the books since the mid-90’s has often been an obstacle.
“Countless people have been injured and had no recourse,” said Ellis. “Drugs have not gotten safer. They have not gotten cheaper. And drug manufacturing has not come to Michigan.”
The repeal legislation received support from Democrats and Republicans.
For decades, Republican legislative leaders opposed repeal efforts.
Despite support in both chambers, the repeal bill did draw some opponents.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce opposed the legislation, arguing for modifying the drug immunity law to create more “balance” instead.