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Michigan's immunity law may not protect company in meningitis cases

We recently discussed on this blog the news of the meningitis outbreak that affected a number of patients in Michigan, as well as throughout the U.S. The post discussed the possibility of patients being able to sue the steroid manufacturers for their medication errors. But as of now, Michigan does not allow victims of faulty drugs to sue the drug manufacturer. It is the only state in the nation that prohibits such lawsuits.

There is good news for victims of the outbreak, however, as experts believe that they will have legal recourse in this instance. The reason is that Michigan's current immunity law only applies to drugs approved by the FDA and the tainted steroids didn't need such approval. Therefore, Michigan residents should be able to bring lawsuits against the drug companies.

The FDA does not regulate compounding drug companies, like the ones that produced the steroids. Local politicians are now asking why there is no FDA oversight in hopes to prevent future outbreaks and harm to patients.

The Michigan immunity law was originally passed to make the state an attractive place to establish drug companies but there have since been two failed attempts to pass a bill that would eliminate immunity. Those opposed to the immunity law say that it hurts the victims of medication errors.

As of now, there are 28 identified cases of meningitis in the state and three people have died from the injection. Throughout the U.S., there are 119 cases reported with 11 deaths. Because the drug companies that produced the steroid are not immune from malpractice suits, injured victims may be able to recover money for medical expenses and other costs. Families of the three deceased victims may also be able to recover in a wrongful death suit with the help of an Ann Arbor medical malpractice attorney.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Tough Michigan immunity law for drugmakers may not apply in meningitis cases, experts say," Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki, Oct. 11, 2012

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