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Bipartisan Passage of Drug Immunity Amendment

From the office of State Rep Ellen Cogen Lipton
Thursday, March 29, 2012

State Representatives Ellen Cogen Lipton (D-Huntington Woods) and Fred Durhal (D-Detroit), the Democratic members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, applaud their Republican colleagues for today's passage of Lipton's amendment which requires Michigan's Attorney General to report the money lost by Michigan residents from not participating in the federal class action lawsuits brought by states against drug companies whose products were found to be harmful.

The amendment was introduced in response to a court decision which prevents the State from participating in any class action lawsuit brought by the other 49 States against drug companies for reimbursement of Medicaid dollars spent on dangerous, defective or ineffective drugs.

Lipton's amendment highlights the state's drug manufacturer product liability immunity, the only one of its kind in the nation. No other state has a drug manufacturer immunity statute and every other state recovers taxpayer dollars paid to drug companies through the Medicaid program for ineffective or dangerous drugs. Democratic efforts to change Michigan's law to allow the state to participate in these recovery efforts have been blocked by the legislature.

Lipton stated, "Every decision has a consequence and those consequences have costs. The public has a right to know the financial penalties of our state's immunity statute." Durhal agreed, stating, "Michigan taxpayers are losing money at a time when the state is cutting valuable social programs in order to save money. If we know exactly what we're missing out on, we'll realize how important it is to repeal the drug immunity law."

The lawmakers encourage their House colleagues and Senate counterparts to keep this vital amendment in future versions of the general government budget. Representatives Lipton and Durhal will be available by telephone for interviews today.