On December 7, 2023, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill No 410. This bill repeals a 1995 law that provided immunity to drug manufacturers from product liability. Previously, the Michigan Product Liability Act (1995) exempted drug manufacturers and sellers from liability if the drug at issue obtained FDA approval and had compliant labeling. The only exception to immunity was if the FDA determined that fraud or bribery influenced the approval process – making it nearly impossible for Michiganders to sue big pharma.
For nearly 30 years, this law prohibited Michigan residents from recovering in state or federal courts for injuries caused by prescription drugs. Under the new law, this immunity is repealed. Michigan plaintiffs are now allowed to claim and prove a product defect.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel celebrated the new law in a statement: “The Michigan Product Liability Act has been used for far too long to shield pharmaceutical companies from accepting responsibility when they knowingly defraud and harm the public[.] I applaud the legislature for finally addressing this one-of-a-kind bill that placed protections for large corporations over the safety of Michigan residents.”