In order to better protect consumers from purchasing defective or counterfeit medicine, four U.S. senators are proposing new legislation which would require all pharmaceutical firms to use the same automated data collection standards.
According to Philly.com, one of the current issues facing oversight in this industry is that regulating the tracking of supplies is the job of the states and not necessarily the federal government. As a result, the United States has a patchwork tracking system and often what is required in one area is significantly different than the standards in another location.
The plan, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, would establish a uniform code for tracking pharmaceuticals throughout its entire supply chain. If the bill becomes law, drug manufacturers and distributors would have to use automated data collection software to oversee supplies at all times. That way, regulators would have an easier time determining what happens at every point in the global pharmaceutical supply chain.
The four senators said this system provides many benefits. With more oversight, regulatory bodies and companies can more quickly determine where any drug shipment is. In addition, improved automated data collection software will help all interested parties pull defective products from store shelves and determine who is at fault in the event of a recall.
"Over the past few years, we've had a record number of recalls and reports of tainted or ineffective drugs reaching our hospitals and drug store shelves," Senator Michael Bennet said. "In fact, right now, we know more from a barcode on a gallon of milk than from a barcode on a bottle of pills, which could mean the difference between life and death. This draft bill would put steps in place to prevent and reduce those problems and help ensure our drug supply is safe."