Downey and Houghtaling Bill Urging FDA Ban of Electrical Stimulation Devices Advances

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assembly Members Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling released the following statement regarding the Human Services Committee’s release of Assembly Resolution AR217, which respectfully urges the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to immediately implement a ban on electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) used to treat aggressive or self-injurious behavior, especially in individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities:

“According to the ‘Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,’ the FDA is fully empowered to ban any medical device if it finds that device to pose an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury to its patients,” said Assemblywoman Downey, who chairs the Human Services Committee. “Multiple studies have shown that ESDs can induce negative physical or psychological side effects in their patients, which can prove especially harmful to those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Many victims of these devices have reported burns, scars, seizures, and deep anxiety following their exposure to these devices. Not only do ESDs pose potential harm to those they are intended to treat, but they also carry a notable risk of malfunction or misapplication, leaving them long overdue for prohibition. For each day that the FDA allows these devices to be sold, more disabled Americans are tormented and injured. It is time for an immediate and comprehensive ban.”

“This proposal is not new,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling. “In 2016, two years after establishing an advisory panel to evaluate the risks of these devices, the FDA published - but never implemented - a proposed rule that would ban ESDs outright across the United States. By failing to adopt its proposed rule, the FDA is failing to meet its obligations to the American people, and has outright enabled continued harms against some of the most vulnerable members of our society. While we are heartened to hear that the FDA may be once again considering its proposal, we believe that this resolution will increase the pressure on the FDA to finally do the right thing and free those with intellectual and developmental disabilities from injury and fear at the hands of these devices.”


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