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Why is the drug immunity repeal important for Michigan?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

A large topic of debate has arisen about drugmaker immunity laws in Michigan and how they hurt more people than they benefit. Michigan’s unique law serves to protect drugmakers from product-liability lawsuits. These laws are set to be repealed in a bill passed by the Senate. 

If the bill is passed, Michigan would allow lawsuits against drugmakers, much like other states. To understand how drugmakers benefited from the immunity laws and how important the repeal bill is for consumers, read the following:

How drugmakers benefit from immunity

Typically, medical malpractice lawsuits against drugmakers often help compensate consumers for their medical bills, funeral costs and damages. 

The original immunity law in Michigan meant that drugmakers could not face lawsuits from consumers who were injured or had lost loved ones to a drug. As a result, drugmakers were not held accountable for drugs that harmed, injured or killed consumers and kept many people from receiving settlements. 

Lawmakers passed the law in 1995 as a way to attract and retain pharmaceutical companies. The only way consumers could fight this blanket defense for the longest time was if it was proven that a company hid information that would cause the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw a drug’s approval.

How consumers benefit from the drug immunity repeal

Lawmakers have fought for years to repeal the 1995 immunity law. If the bill passes, consumers will finally get the chance to sue drugmakers and distributors for medical malpractice. 

The repeal does not, unfortunately, work retroactively. This means that Michigan residents do not have new rights to sue drug makers and manufacturers if they were previously injured by a drug. However, consumers may need to learn about what rights they do have if they were injured by or suffered a loss from a drug.


Update: 2/13/2024

This bill (PA 285) went into effect today. Michigan citizens can now hold drug manufacturers accountable for injury from defective or dangerous products.

Update: 12/12/2023

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation repealing Michigan’s immunity shield for drug manufacturers. This makes Michigan the final state in the nation to repeal the shield and allow Michiganders to hold drug companies accountable if they or a family member are harmed. 




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