The House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. regarding a bill to overturn medical device preemption (H.R. 1346 /S. 540), called the "The Medical Device Safety Act of 2009.” Although the hearing is not yet listed on the Subcomittee's website, hearing materials should become available here. (If you are interested, video and transcripts also are available from last year's lopsided House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform preemption hearing held May 14, 2008 and the Senate Judiciary Committee's preemption hearing held June 11, 2008.)

Those in the industry will find H.R.1346/ S. 540 ironically named, as patient access to critical new devices and public health would suffer if this bill passes. These ill effects are detailed in a new economics study, “The Economic Impact of Eliminating Federal Preemption for Medical Devices on Patients, Innovation and Jobs” by Ernst Berndt, PhD, and Mark Trusheim of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. As the authors state in the executive summary to their article,

"Eliminating preemption protection for medical devices—as some currently advocate—will impact:

  1. Patient access and public health
  2. Medical technology innovation rates
  3. Industry employment
  4. Government expenses as a healthcare payer, regulator and judicial funder

The results from eliminating preemption are likely broad and generally negative across this host of categories."

The article is thoughtful and well worth reading.