Bill gives FDA new power and money to fight counterfeit medicine. Criminal charges for counterfeiters could be life in prison.
A new bill proposed by Representative Steve Israel would increase the budget for the counterfeiting department over at the FDA. It would also alter the maximum prison term for those found guilty of selling counterfeits drugs or mislabeling medicine.
Counterfeit medicine is very dangerous. Especially if you have cancer and the cancer pills you got were counterfeit, just as this story about fake Avastin pills. That is just one cancer drug that is counterfeited and sold. Birth control pills, antibiotics are heavily counterfeited along with every other type of medicine, supplements and pills.
While the amount of counterfeit medicine is low in the US and western world, poorer countries have been hit hard. Afghanistan has it worst, with counterfeit medicine booming.
Rep. Israel would like to keep it that way, a low amount of counterfeits in the US. Removing all counterfeits is impossible. His bill calls for a $60 million expenditure per year to fight counterfeits, along with harsher prison terms.
To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to increase criminal penalties for the sale or trade of prescription drugs knowingly caused to be adulterated or misbranded, to establish recall authority regarding drugs, and for other purposes.
Harsher prison terms:
… or the person purchases or trades for the drug knowing or having reason to know that the drug was knowingly caused to be adulterated or misbranded, the person shall be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both.
Increase in budget for fighting counterfeits and public education regarding counterfeit drugs:
…there is authorized to be appropriated $60,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2015 through 2018, in addition to other authorizations of appropriations that are available for such purpose.
For the purpose of carrying out subsection (a), there is authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2015 through 2018
The bill also gives the FDA new powers in issuing recalls and the power to issue certain types of subpoenas.
The bill does not issue mandatory sentencing. That is good. It should be up to the judge to determine the length of the sentence.
As of this post, the bill has not been passed or even cleared a committee yet. It was last in the House Energy and Commerce committee. We will update this post when or if the bill is passed or voted on.
Steve does good work when it comes to counterfeits and drugs. Last year he led a call to investigate a drug used on Turkeys that could be carcinogenic.
What do you think? Leave a comment.