Protecting American families from counterfeit pharmaceuticals
As appeared in The Hill's Congress Blog
Washington, DC, June 3, 2013
Our national pharmaceutical supply chain is one of the securest in the world, but according to recent reports, the counterfeiting of prescription drugs is on the rise within the U.S. and often times goes unreported or unnoticed.
While pharmaceutical distribution occurs at a nationwide level, current standards for the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain vary by state, creating a patchwork of regulations. Exploiting the patchwork of laws, bad actors have infiltrated the supply chain, creating a business model that some experts have cited as even more lucrative than the trafficking of illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Without Congressional action, a patchwork of unworkable state laws would be in place and add billions of dollars in potential regulatory costs to American manufacturers, distributors, and small businesses such as community pharmacies.
This May, I introduced H.R. 1919, Safeguarding America's Pharmaceuticals Act of 2013, a bipartisan bill to strengthen and secure our nation’s pharmaceutical distribution supply chain to protect American families against counterfeit pharmaceuticals. This legislation, cosponsored by Jim Matheson (D-Utah), is a result of collaboration and input from stakeholders throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain.
This bill will establish a national standard of tracing requirements for manufacturers, wholesale distributors, pharmacies and repackagers based on changes in ownership. Additionally, the bill establishes a collaborative, transparent process between the FDA and stakeholders to study ways to even further secure the pharmaceutical supply chain.
By replacing the current patchwork of multiple state laws with a uniform national standard we improve safety, eliminate duplicative regulations, and create certainty for members of the pharmaceutical supply chain.
With over 4 billion prescriptions filled each year in United States, it is of utmost importance that we implement commonsense solutions to safeguard our distribution supply chain to protect American families against counterfeit pharmaceuticals and improve security and integrity throughout.