Liability reform bill offers balanced approach

U.S. Capitol AstraZeneca is urging the U.S. House to consider and pass liability reform legislation that would prohibit punitive damages being awarded in litigation around products approved, cleared, or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011 – sponsored by Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia – recently cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Passage of this common sense legislation will help relieve some of the costs, time and uncertainties that come with the threat of litigation and allow us greater opportunity to focus on research and development for (medicines),” AstraZeneca US CEO Rich Fante wrote in a letter of support to House Speaker John Boehner.

Fante noted that “litigation adds a tremendous cost to the health care system and as a consequence that cost has a direct impact on jobs and the medical innovation it can bring for patients.”

He also said that the legislation is “a carefully crafted, balanced approach to ensure that pharmaceutical manufacturers that comply with the rigorous FDA standards in getting a product approved and brought to market are not subject to punitive damages in a product liability case, while still holding bad actors accountable for knowingly withholding misinformation from the FDA. “

Learn more about the legislation here.

– By Tony Jewell