NCPA Testifies to Congress on Anti-Drug Counterfeiting Measures



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Alexandria, Va. - March 8, 2012

Timothy Davis, PharmD, a pharmacy owner from Beaver, Pennsylvania, testified today on behalf of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) at the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing on pharmaceutical supply chain security. He described the role pharmacists play in contributing to an effective system of safeguards, while also offering a series of recommendations that could further bolster those efforts.

"The current pharmaceutical supply chain in the United States is safe and secure," said Davis. "Most practicing pharmacists have a heightened awareness of the possibility of counterfeit or diverted drugs and therefore recognize the critical importance of purchasing medications only from trusted wholesalers or trading partners. In addition, most pharmacists today make a concerted effort to carefully examine and make note of drug packaging and the appearance of the drug itself to be sure that there are no suspicious anomalies."

Davis added, "There are a number of different approaches or tactics that could be employed to provide further confirmation of integrity. These strategies could include national, uniform federal license standards for wholesale distributors and logistics providers, increased oversight or security measures to deter pharmaceutical cargo theft and potentially the tracking for prescription drugs at the lot level."

His system-strengthening recommendations were:

  • Develop uniform, federal license standards for wholesale distributors and logistics providers to replace the current patchwork of conflicting state requirements of varying rigor.
  • Pass S. 1002, The Safe Doses Act, which expands the penalties for pharmaceutical cargo theft.
  • Pass H.R. 4095, the Online Pharmacy Safety Act, which creates a public "white list" of legitimate Internet pharmacies to be managed by the Food and Drug Administration or its contracting organization for consumers to access.
  • Consider the implementation of a lot-level tracking system for prescription drugs, as outlined in Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance proposal, that could assist the FDA or state authorities in the event of a recall or to investigate suspect product.

"Any strategy or plan to tighten up the supply chain must be a multi-pronged approach, with the understanding that any one measure by itself is not sufficient to realize a discernible improvement," said Davis. "Moving forward, it is essential that all stakeholders make a concerted effort to keep the lines of communication open so that consumers can continue to implicitly trust the integrity of the medications that they depend upon."

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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