U.S. Backs Down on Work Noise, Medical Devices

A day after President Barack Obama ordered the government to get rid of burdensome rules, two federal agencies backed down from proposals that had drawn jeers from businesses.

The Labor Department said it was withdrawing a proposal on noise in the workplace that could have forced manufacturers to install noise-reducing equipment. And the Food and Drug Administration retreated from plans to tighten rules on medical-device approvals, postponing a proposal that would have given the FDA power to order additional postmarket studies of devices.

Industry leaders praised the moves, while consumer advocates expressed disappointment.

“This is a very positive step forward,” said Bill Hawkins, chief executive of medical-devices heavyweight Medtronic Inc. “What’s come out in our judgment is more balanced.”

Diana Zuckerman, president of an advocacy group that had called for tighter medical-device regulation, said, “The FDA has backed down on important safety measures that would have saved lives … FDA decisions should not be based on a popularity contest, especially since lobbyists rig the results.” […]

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