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After COVID-19 Laid Issues Bare, Medical Right to Repair (SB 605) Passes Health Committee Overwhelmingly
SACRAMENTO – The Medical Device Right to Repair Act, Senate Bill (SB) 605, passed through its first committee Wednesday in a bipartisan, unanimous vote. The bill, authored by state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, is the first right-to-repair legislation to advance out of committee in California.
SB 605 will require manufacturers of medical devices to provide access to service parts and information to hospitals and the third-party repair providers that work with them at a fair and reasonable price. The bill is co-sponsored by CALPIRG, the American College of Clinical Engineering, and iFixit; and was supported by the California Hospital Association.
Claudia Deeg, CALPIRG Public Health Associate, issued the following statement in response:
“This is a huge win for patients. Amidst a global pandemic, qualified hospital technicians were struggling to get necessary information to maintain equipment. That leads to delays, increased costs, and impacts on patient safety. We should be doing everything in our power to help hospitals care for patients quickly and effectively, and SB 605 will work to do just that.
“When medical device manufacturers refuse to share parts, tools or service information they can force hospitals to put life-saving equipment like ventilators on the shelf while waiting days, weeks or even months for a manufacturer’s ‘authorized’ technician to travel and fix a device. Every day that a critical piece of equipment sits on a shelf is a day it can’t be used to treat a COVID patient. Manufacturers’ argument is that while they have monopolized aspects of repair, it is a benevolent monopoly, one done to protect us. But we can’t ignore the damage of repair restrictions to patients or the fact that it raises the cost of healthcare. Despite heavy industry opposition, lawmakers overwhelmingly supported repair access.
“SB 605 will provide much needed support to California hospitals and their patients by empowering the biomeds they employ and the third parties they hire. We thank Sen. Eggman, committee Chair Dr. Pan, and the committee members for supporting this critical bill.”
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