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New US House bill would require drug testing for pharma employees

By Zachary Brennan , 26-Feb-2014

Drug testing for pharma employees proposed in US
Drug testing for pharma employees proposed in US

Pharma industry employees and wholesalers with access to narcotic APIs would be subject to background checks and drug testing under new proposals being considered in the US.

The Bill, introduced in the US House of Reprasentatives by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) last week, aims to prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion by creating a “more collaborative partnership between drug manufacturers, wholesalers, retail pharmacies and federal enforcement and oversight agencies.”

According to the text of the bill , H.R. 4069, any employees with access to controlled substances would need to undergo criminal background checks about every two years and drug testing.

Rep. Marino said, “Greater collaboration between federal law enforcement agencies and industry, bred by more clarity in the Controlled Substances Act, will help prevent diversion and protect consumers against disruptions in the supply chain.” Rep. Marino did not respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined Marino as a co-sponsor to the legislation, which has gained the support of the National Community Pharmacists Association, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

The bill would also establish the Combating Prescription Drug Abuse Working Group, which would include representatives from the various industries involved in the handling of prescription drugs. The working group would:

  • Review and report to Congress on federal initiatives to reduce prescription drug diversion and abuse;
  • Identify gaps and opportunities to ensure the safe use of prescription drugs with the potential for diversion and abuse;
  • Examine recommendations to transfer one or more controlled substances from schedule III to schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act; and
  • Make recommendations on specific ways to reduce the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.

Rep. Blackburn said she looks forward to working with Rep. Marino “to ensure that law enforcement has the tools they need to respond decisively to bad actors and that industry stakeholders have the assurances of due process, and are shielded from disabling disruptions in the supply chain that can endanger the health and safety of individual patients.”

This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on February 18, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole. The majority of bills never make it past this point.

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