Contact: Jennifer Fuson
202.965.3500, ext. 8369
Strong Civil Justice System Also Needed to Hold Industry Accountable
Washington, DC—This week’s finding that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ignored scientific evidence in the decision to say bisphenol A (BPA) is safe shows exactly why we need a strong civil justice system—to complement the agency’s work to protect consumers from hazardous products, according to the American Association for Justice (AAJ).
A panel of independent scientific advisers this week released a report critical of the FDA, saying the agency did not take into consideration numerous studies linking BPA to cancer and also relied on inadequate sample sizes when the agency declared the chemical “safe.” BPA is a chemical used in food containers, bottles, and food cans, all products regulated by the FDA.
“While we know the FDA is under-funded and under-staffed, evidence that they ignored data and relied heavily on industry studies shows why the agency alone cannot be trusted to monitor the safety of our drugs, medical devices, food, and other products,” said Gerie Voss, AAJ’s Director of Regulatory Affairs. “As the public continued to use products containing this hazardous substance, the agency lost precious time in crafting its guidance.”
Recent FDA rules on drug labeling, dietary supplements, over-the-counter drugs, sunscreens, and many others have included language that would preempt state tort law claims, a reversal of the agency’s prior position to allow the civil justice system to complement the regulatory system. According to a recent report released by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, prior to a rule on drug and medical device labeling being issued, one FDA career official said the rule “is not as it purports to be, consistent with the agency’s role in protecting the public health.”
A copy of the House report can be found here.
Canada started banning plastic baby bottles containing BPA, and some retailers have removed plastic baby bottles containing BPA from their shelves.
A full copy of AAJ’s report on complete immunity preemption, see “Get Out of Jail Free: A Historical Perspective of How the Bush Administration Helps Corporations Escape Accountability” at www.justice.org/getoutofjailfree.