Bush Administration Policies Show Disdain for Consumer Safety
In a report released today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concludes that Bush Administration political appointees have worked hard to frustrate consumer rights for the sole purpose of protecting big businesses from being held accountable for their decisions. The report, which focuses on pre-emption language the Food and Drug Administration has inserted in a wide array of government regulations, notes that FDA scientists did not believe that allowing state court claims alleging dangers in drugs or medical devices to go forward would have any negative impact on product safety. However, those scientists' views were ignored by political appointees who lacked any objective, empirical support for their position.
You can read the full report
Pre-emption is the concept that a manufacturer's compliance with a federal regulation or law prohibits a consumer from bringing a claim in state court that alleges any defect in the product. Right now, for example, so long as a medical device is approved by the FDA, it's approval bars a patient from suing the maker alleging a defect in the product's design. Essentially it means that a victim gets nothing no matter how negligent the maker's design, manufacture or testing.
Over the past eight years, the Bush administration has worked had to limit consumer rights through pre-emption. In the last three years alone, the National Highway Transportation Administration has issued a regulation that provides sweeping immunity for car makers whose vehicles pass basic and often meaningless tests.
Regulatory pre-emption allows the government to steal consumer rights through executive branch declarations. There are no checks and balances and no debate in a legislative setting. This backdoor approach must be stopped before more and more consumer rights are taken away.
If you are concerned about losing your legal rights and protections to regulatory pre-emption, please make your voice heard. Visit http://www.senate.gov/ or http://www.house.gov/, and tell your representatives that -- like you -- big business must be accountable for its actions.
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