Groups Tangle Over Proposed Individual Drug Tracking System

Posted on April 25, 2012

The potential ability of the Food and Drug Administration to track individual drug items via serial numbers might be in danger.

Over the past ten years, the FDA has struggled to put together a “track and trace” plan that would put a unique serial number on every single package of medicine that’s brought to market.  However, opponents of the mandate, which range from large drug companies to smaller pharmacies, think the system is cost-prohibitive.

The problem is that the debate can’t carry on for that much longer without a significant delay in implementation.  If the FDA doesn’t propose one distinct plan by this September, then they’ll have to wait another five years until they can legally bring the issue back up with Congress.

Drug manufacturers and other opponents, who say it would cost upwards of $6 billion for pharmacies to fall in line with tracking every individual medicinal package, would rather see an expanded focus on keeping tabs on every lot of a drug instead of every single package.

California was the first state scheduled to switch over to an individual drug package tracking system, but healthcare lobbyists were able to delay the measure again and again.  It’s currently not scheduled to take place until 2015.  Estimates hint that the national system could be ready by 2020.

This is an important issue to a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles like me.  I understand how important is is to track drugs.  Such information could make issuing recalls and weeding out counterfeits easier.  As a San Jose personal injury attorney, I hope that lawmakers are able to figure out how best to preserve safety.

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