The author of an opinion piece on Slate says when Joe Biden becomes president of the United States, his administration should focus on ending manufacturers’ exclusive agreements, supporting the right to repair movement:
The new Biden administration can and should instruct the Federal Trade Commission to use its rule-making authority to ban exclusive agreements by dominant manufacturers.
In the case of ventilators, any unnecessary time waiting for parts or repair technicians can mean a matter of life and death. Despite the global emergency to save lives with ventilators, other manufacturers have also enforced restrictive repair agreements. Certain manufacturers require that only exclusively authorized technicians fix mechanical and software issues with ventilators. As Sen. Ron Wyden and Ilir Kullolli, a biomedical engineer, recently wrote for Future Tense, “lifesaving equipment is being left to gather dust in a closet” as some hospitals are forced to wait weeks for a manufacturer-approved technician to repair devices.
As long as exclusive agreements exist, dominant manufacturers will be able to preserve their market power to restrict the availability of the parts and tools necessary to complete repairs. Fortunately, the FTC can ban this practice.
Read more at Slate.