When it comes to setting standards for the safety of medical devices, the American public trusts academic researchers, and Food and Drug Administration scientists and physicians much more than they do lay juries or trial lawyers, according to a poll conducted by the independent research firm Harris Interactive and released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).
The national poll of 2,280 adults conducted last week shows that, when asked about whom they trust to make decisions about the safety of medical devices, 68 percent said they trust academic researchers, and 59 percent said they trust FDA scientists and physicians either “completely” or “somewhat.” Survey respondents said they “completely” or “somewhat” trusted lay juries 30 percent of the time, and trial lawyers 23 percent of the time.
“Americans want medical and scientific experts determining the safety standards for medical devices like hip replacements or heart monitors,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of ILR. “They don’t believe that the safety of patients should be determined through the decisions of trial lawyers and lay juries.”
The poll comes as Congress begins considering the Medical Device Safety Act (S.540/H.R.1346), the latest in what is expected to be an array of proposals aimed at rolling back federal preemption to allow for more lawsuits under state laws.
Also released today is a letter to all members of Congress from a broad coalition of groups opposing the Medical Device Safety Act. The letter states that the proposal would “stifle innovation of new medical devices thus limiting the availability of lifesaving technologies,” and, contrary to its title, would “provide no real safety benefits to American consumers.”
The coalition letter is signed by nearly fifty groups representing a wide array of interests including health care and caregiver groups, medical research firms, veterans and seniors groups, medical device makers and the broader business community.
The results of the poll will be featured in an advertisement unveiled this week. The full poll question, the advertisement and the coalition letter can be found online at /component/ilr_issues/29/item/PRE.html.
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.