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July 29, 1998

H.R. 872 - Biomaterials Access Assurance Act of 1998
(Gekas (R) Pennsylvania and 135 cosponsors)

The Administration supports House passage of the manager's amendment to H.R. 872 which would protect certain biomaterials suppliers from liability for harm caused by a medical implant for which they provided raw materials or component parts. In vetoing legislation that included a separate biomaterials title in 1996, the President expressed general support for the goals of the biomaterials bill, but objected to the language because it would have protected from liability even those suppliers who knew or should have known that the materials, as implanted, would cause injury. The bill before the House does not protect those suppliers whose negligence or intentionally tortious conduct was a cause of the harm if: (1) the manufacturer's liability should be reduced because of that negligence or intentionally tortious conduct; or (2) the manufacturer is insolvent. This bill is narrowly crafted to address the demonstrated problem that the supply of life-saving and life-enhancing bodily implants is threatened by the refusal of suppliers of raw materials and component parts to provide their materials and parts because their potential costs of defending against liability claims exceed their profits from sale of the materials and parts.