[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[August 13, 1998]
[Page 1445]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the Biomaterials Access Assurance Act of 1998
August 13, 1998

    I am pleased to sign today the Biomaterials Access Assurance Act of 
1998, which should help to ensure the continued availability of life-
saving and life-enhancing medical devices. The bill protects certain raw 
materials and parts suppliers from liability for harm caused by a 
medical implant. Congress heard evidence that these biomaterials 
suppliers are increasingly unwilling to sell their goods to implant 
manufacturers. Although these suppliers have never been found liable, 
they fear that their costs to defend themselves, if dragged into 
litigation over the medical device, would far outweigh the profits they 
would earn from supplying the raw materials. But without those 
materials, Americans would have to live without the heart valves, jaw 
implants, artificial hips, and other medical devices (including many not 
yet imagined) that can help the victims of disease and injury stay alive 
or improve the quality of their lives.
    This bill addresses concerns that I raised, when I vetoed the 
product liability bill in 1996, about that bill's biomaterials 
provision. This bill is very narrowly crafted to accomplish its specific 
objective--maintaining the supply of biomaterials.

Note: H.R. 872, approved August 13, was assigned Public Law No. 105-230.