In a groundbreaking move, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representative Yvette D. Clark (D-N.Y.) have introduced right to repair legislation in the House and Senate that would eliminate hospitals’ roadblocks for repairing medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Critical Medical Infrastructure Right-to-Repair Act of 2020 would protect owners from prosecution if they made a copy of service parts or broke a digital lock while repairing equipment, allow users to make their own substitute parts, and require manufacturers to provide owners access to information and tools to repair equipment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed America’s health system to the limit, and critical medical equipment has been almost impossible to legally repair because manufacturers enjoy a monopoly on tools, documentation, and replacement parts. Critically, the Wyden/Clark legislation also overrides service agreements that manufacturers require hospitals to sign that prevents them from working on their own equipment, such as ventilators.
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