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Senators Murray and Murphy Statements on FDA Rule to Ban Use of Electrical Shock Devices on Children and Adults with Disabilities

After request from Senators Murray and Murphy, FDA finalizes rule first proposed in 2016


Rule will finally end the practice of using electrical shocks to punish children and adults with disabilities


Murray: “I’m glad FDA finally took this important step to protect children and adults with disabilities.”


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) released the following statements on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final rule to ban the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) on children and adults with disabilities. The announcement comes following a request from Senators Murray and Murphy on February 10 urging the FDA to finalize the rule. The rule was first proposed in 2016, but years of delays and missed deadlines allowed for ESDs—which attach to the skin and allow another person to administer electric shocks—to continue being used as a form of punishment and behavioral control.


“I’m glad FDA finally took this important step to protect children and adults with disabilities,” said Senator Murray. “Just last month, I urged the FDA to not delay any longer in finalizing this rule. Electrical stimulation devices cause psychological trauma and physical injury—and while it took too long, I’m glad that this archaic and inhumane form of punishment will finally be banned once and for all.”


“Electrical Stimulation Devices have little efficacy and several long-term negative side-effects, and I’m glad Dr. Hahn was true to his word that he would work with me to ban these devices. It’s an inhumane practice that hurts those who are already vulnerable—especially since these individuals have difficulty communicating. We know alternative and effective treatment options are available, and I appreciate the agency taking this overdue step,” said Senator Murphy.


On February 10, Senators Murray and Murphy led Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Maggie Hassan (D -NH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Tina Smith (D-MN) in urging the FDA to finalize the rule.