More than halfway into 2024, six states have already codified some version of right-to-repair legislation, pushing back against companies who threaten individuals’ rights to repair the devices and equipment they own. It’s a clear indicator the right-to-repair movement is gaining momentum.

In Michigan, a right-to-repair bill was introduced at the beginning of this year. If passed, Senate Bill 686 would be one of the broadest of its kind, exempting only cars from its guidelines.

Lawmakers must proceed with caution when implementing broad right-to-repair policy, especially when these policies impact lifesaving and life-enhancing medical devices. When it comes to patient safety, shortcuts should not be allowed.

The purported objective of the right-to-repair movement is to make it easier and more affordable for consumers to repair their products. However, replacing a phone screen or changing a tire on a tractor should not be lumped in with the right-to-repair highly technical equipment. This is especially true in the medical field where the stakes are literally life and death.

Allowing unregulated third-party companies to access complex medical equipment is a dangerous and unnecessary risk to patients. This reality should give lawmakers pause before passing broad legislation. Especially with medical devices, where more research is needed.

It doesn’t take an expert to realize that repairing medical devices requires more specialized training compared to the repair of other consumer goods. It is also the main reason why these devices are strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Unlike the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) behind these products, independent servicers are not required to adhere to the FDA’s Quality System Regulations (QSR) or report adverse events that can occur when conducting repairs.

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Tirzah Duren is the Vice President of Policy for the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit educational organization. For more information about the Institute, or follow us on Twitter (X) @ConsumerPal.