Yesterday I wrote about how Michigan’s one-of-a-kind FDA Immunity Law deprives victims of justice when they have been injured by defective drugs. This total absence of legal recourse has a broader impact than you might expect. According to the Michigan Court of Appeals, the law prevents the State of Michigan from recovering millions of dollars spent on drugs like Vioxx.
In a 2-1 decision released last Thursday, Michigan’s intermediate appellate court ruled that the State cannot recover money spent through Medicaid procuring Vioxx for patients in Michigan. The Attorney General, who filed the suit on behalf of the State, alleged that Merck committed fraud in representing the safety and efficacy of Vioxx, and that the state was entitled to be reimbursed for money that would not have been spent if Merck had acted in accordance with the law. The majority disagreed, and held that because Vioxx had been approved by the FDA at the time (prior to being recalled in 2004), Michigan’s FDA Immunity Law protected Merck from liability. As a result, the State’s fragile Medicaid system will not be reimbursed despite paying millions to Merck for this defective medication.
The drug industry immunity law is causing harm to the people of Michigan and the State itself. This law, the only one of its kind in the United States, must be repealed so that multi-billion dollar corporations can be held accountable for their mistakes.