Capitol Correspondence - 04.30.18

ANCOR Signs Onto Coalition Letter Calling on HHS, FDA to Finalize Ban of Electric Stimulation Devices

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On April 23, 2018, ANCOR joined over 200 organizations in signing a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calling on it to finalize a proposal banning Electric Stimulation Devices (ESDs). ESDs include the graduated electronic decelerator device, and other Level III aversive techniques. It has been two years since the FDA issued a proposed rule to ban ESDs, during which time no additional progress has been made towards issuing a final version. This concerns ANCOR because it considers such devices dangerous to the well-being of people with disabilities. ANCOR worked with Senator Murphy’s office in 2016 and 2017 to direct a letter and hearing questions to the FDA Commissioners on why the practice has been allowed to continue.

As written in the recent sign-on letter: “The FDA is mandated to protect the health and safety of these individuals and must not delay further. In the eight years since this issue was raised to the FDA and in the two years it took for the FDA to release a proposed rule in response to the April 2014 hearing, many vulnerable people with disabilities were subjected to unbearably painful electric shock for such harmless behaviors as getting out of one’s seat, interrupting, whispering, slouching, swearing, or failing to maintain a neat appearance. As the proposed rule recognizes, innocent and vulnerable children and adults are experiencing dramatic short and long term effects from this abusive treatment every day.

We the undersigned urge HHS and the White House to prioritize and take all actions necessary to ensure these critical rules are finalized. Secretary Azar and Commissioner Gottlieb, we ask that you devote any and all resources necessary to swiftly review comments and finalize the rule with an immediate effective date and no further delays. Additionally, we call on the White House to take all steps necessary to ensure that the final rule is shepherded through the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.”

To understand the history of the proposal, please read the full letter here. As aforementioned, ANCOR has participated in efforts to ban ESDs for several years and continues to advocate against their use.