Patient advocacy organizations oppose medical device repair legislation

Legislation to allow farmers to repair their own equipment has some medical organizations concerned.

Many farm equipment manufacturers prevent farmers from accessing the software tools needed to fix their modern tractors. The “Digital Fair Repair Act” has been introduced in Springfield, which would provide farmers and mechanics with the software and other materials required to repair tractors.

But Terry Wilcox, executive director of Patients Rising Now, said the legislation would allow unqualified, untrained and unregulated repair operators to work on FDA-regulated medical devices, such as CT scans.

“We just felt from a safety perspective that the legislature should be mindful of that as they move forward with these types of bills, specifically surrounding medical devices,” said Wilcox.

Twenty-three groups have written a letter urging lawmakers to oppose the inclusion of medical devices on any “right to repair” legislation.

“Compelling original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to share proprietary servicing information with independent repair organizations (ISOs) that are not required to adhere to the same strict FDA requirements as device manufacturers makes medical devices more vulnerable to malfunction and cyber hacks, which in turn can lead to harm to the patient, device user, and technician or increase the likelihood of inaccuracies and missed diagnoses,” the groups wrote.

Abe Scarr, state director of Illinois PIRG, testified in favor of the legislation before the House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT Committee.

“Right to Repair is breaking through. But we cannot wait for the Federal Government to solve this problem – consumers, hospitals, farmers and fixers need repair access now. The Illinois General Assembly has the opportunity to save Illinoisans money, reduce toxic e-waste, stand up for farmers and keep our health care facilities functioning by passing [House Bill 3061],” said Scarr.

This article was originally posted on Patient advocacy organizations oppose medical device repair legislation