Capitol Correspondence - 05.18.21

Right to Repair Movement Carries Implications for Health Equipment

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Because some of our members support individuals who rely on medical equipment such as ventilators, we share this Politico Pro Analysis on a growing policy discussion on technology users’ right to repair equipment without relying on the original manufacturer. While broadly focused on the technology world in general, the analysis does mention implications for ventilators. We share toplines from the document below for the convenience of our members.

“The desire to fix complex equipment — everything from tractors to laptops to washing machines — untethered from the original manufacturer has become an increasingly popular grassroots campaign.

Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), made right-to-repair key to their antitrust platforms.

Massachusetts has been at the center of right-to-repair advocacy. A 2012 Massachusetts law inspired lawmakers in more than two dozen other states to introduce legislation aimed at compelling companies to turn over technical information consumers might use to fix products independently. But amid opposition from many of the nation’s biggest businesses, none of the measures has become law.

The Federal Trade Commission recently weighed in, saying it plans to use enforcement and regulatory options to combat ‘unlawful repair restrictions.’

Health care providers that have relied on life-saving devices such as ventilators throughout the Covid-19 pandemic have urged companies to ease repair costs and access to the technical specifications of their products.”