After the California Medical Device Right to Repair Act (SB 605) passed through the California Senate Committees on Health and Judiciary in recent weeks without a single opposing vote, the Senate Appropriations Committee chose not to pass the bill on Thursday, May 20. 

To U.S. PIRG officials—and many members of the healthcare technology management profession—this is a major disappointment. “Many medical device manufacturers routinely restrict access to essential repair materials, including tools, schematics, access codes, and more,” U.S. PIRG said in a statement. This, in turn, can lead to delays in patient care and higher repair costs, according to the advocacy group.

SB 605, introduced by California Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (Bakersfield), would have provided qualified technicians employed by hospitals and independent service organizations with these materials.

CALPIRG’s Right to Repair Advocate Kevin O’Reilly says the Senate Appropriations Committee’s failure to pass this bill puts public health at risk. “The pandemic has made clear the need to allow onsite technicians to fix medical devices as soon as they break,” he adds. “Without [the] Right to Repair, manufacturers’ control on the medical device repair market will continue to delay patient care and drive up the cost.”

O’Reilly continues, “Hospital repair technicians, hospital networks and associations, public health groups, consumer groups, and more all came together to put the needs of patients above manufacturer profits. It’s clear that a heavy lobbying effort by manufacturer groups ultimately convinced leadership to kill the bill. It’s unconscionable that this problem will continue to plague patients through the end of the pandemic and beyond.”

Do you agree or disagree with O’Reilly? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.