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Consumer Reports Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Strong Medical Device Safety Oversight
Date:3/20/2012

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  A new Consumer Reports poll shows overwhelming public support for strong medical device safety oversight.  The poll was released just as House and Senate Committees have issued draft legislation to reauthorize the statute governing medical devices and at a time when the FDA's process for reviewing new implants has come under intense criticism. 

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee's draft bill would significantly weaken device safety oversight and should be rejected by Congress, according to Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.  While the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's draft bill provides some additional protections for patients once devices are on the market, it misses the opportunity to enact a clear process for preventing unsafe devices from being sold in the first place.

"Recent problems with metal hip implants and surgical mesh have shown how our current system fails to ensure medical devices are safe and effective," said Lisa Swirsky, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union.  "Unfortunately, the House bill weakens current standards to speed up device approvals rather than improving safety oversight.  The Senate bill offers some improvements but it should be strengthened to require stricter safety testing of new implants and life sustaining devices.  Congress should recognize that the public is far more concerned about making sure devices are safe and work than how quickly they are made available."

The medical device industry has been pushing Congress to scale back oversight of implants and other devices, which it claims is necessary to promote innovation and make it easier to get new devices approved.  But according to the new Consumer Reports poll, 82 percent of Americans believe that preventing safety problems is more important than limiting safety testing in order t
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SOURCE Consumers Union
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