New bill looks to crack down on Rx theft, receives support from PSM
WASHINGTON — Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced new legislation that seeks to curb prescription drug theft through strengthened penalties and additional tools for law enforcement.
If approved, the legislation would:
Increase possible sentences for robbing pharmacies of controlled substances;
Increase sentences for the theft of medical products and for transportation and storage of stolen medical products, and apply that increase to each current section of federal law that could be used by prosecutors to charge such crimes;
Enhance penalties for stolen medical product “fences,” including individuals and organizations who knowingly obtain stolen products for resale into the supply chain;
Increase sentences when harm occurs or trust is broken — in other words, when the defendant is employed by an organization in the supply chain or when there was a death as the result of ingestion of a stolen substance;
Make theft of medical products a predicate for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, law, giving law enforcement access to wiretaps and other sophisticated tools; and
Provide for civil penalties and forfeiture of ill-gotten gains derived from medical product theft.
This week, the legislation was commended by the Partnership for Safe Medicines, a group of nonprofit organizations and individuals that have policies, procedures or programs to protect consumers from counterfeit or contraband medicines.
"This bill is yet another example of both the growing threat and increased awareness of the global counterfeit drug threat,” stated Thomas Kubic, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute president and CEO and board member of PSM. “When we’re talking about patient and consumer safety, there is no difference between stolen medicines and fake medicines. I am pleased that Sens. Schumer, Rockefeller, Klobuchar and Brown recognize this public health risk and have introduced this important legislation.”
One danger with stolen pharmaceuticals is that once those medicines drop out of the U.S. closed distribution network, they can be manipulated by counterfeiters before being resold, the PSM noted.
Purdue offers grant to fund Fla. Rx monitoring program
STAMFORD, Conn. — Drug maker Purdue Pharma is giving a $1 million grant to the state of Florida to help fund the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, the company said Wednesday.
Purdue said the program was designed to combat illegal diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. Purdue is the maker of OxyContin (oxycodone), an extended-release opioid painkiller that often is a target of abuse.
The company also is giving a $1 million grant to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to support the group’s program to help state prescription drug monitoring programs detect “doctor shopping” across state lines.
Tris seeks FDA OK for allergy treatment for kids
MONMOUTH JUNCTION, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has accepted a regulatory approval application from Tris Pharma for a drug to treat allergies in children ages 2 years and older, Tris said Wednesday.
Tris said that if approved, its carbinoxamine extended-release oral suspension would provide an alternative to currently available immediate-release formulations.
Carbinoxamine is a mildly sedating antihistamine. Before 2006, it was widely used, with more than 100 products containing the drug, but nearly all were older drugs that hadn’t undergone the FDA’s approval process. The agency removed all of them except two immediate-release formulations.