Are you a pharmaceutical manufacturer who is acting as a wholesale distributor, as defined by the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), for some of your products? This might occur if you are buying pre-packaged drugs from the New Drug Application (NDA)-holder or Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA)-holder and offering them for sale to U.S. wholesale distributors. If you cannot justifiably fit into the DSCSA definitions of either a “co-licensed partner”, or an “exclusive distributor” for those drugs, you might as well remove them from your catalog because the “Big-3” wholesale distributors—AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson—probably will not be willing to buy them anymore as of next January.
The supply chain provisions contained within the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA)—themselves known as the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA)—mark a significant achievement by Congress and the industry to protect the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain from criminals. It is the first completed attempt since 1987 when the Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) was enacted by Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan. In comparison, the provisions of the DSCSA are much more detailed and extensive than the PDMA and they read as if they were heavily influenced by people who solidly understand the scale and complexity of the legitimate supply chain. Which, they were, based on the contribution of the Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance (PDSA)—made up of key stakeholders in the supply chain—in their development. That should ensure that the industry will be able to adopt the technology and process modifications necessary to meet the new law on time.
But will all this also lead to true protection of the supply chain from criminal activities? Will the DSCSA portion of the DQSA end up presenting new and insurmountable barriers against criminals who game the supply chain to their advantage and thereby putting patients at risk? These are the true measures of the success of this type of legislation. How can we know if the DSCSA will have these positive affects? Continue reading How the DQSA Will–And Won’t–Protect The Supply Chain, Part 1→
On November 27, 2013 President Barack Obama signed the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 (DQSA) into law (see “It’s Official, President Obama Signs H.R. 3204, DQSA, Into Law“). That act has many provisions, but one is to preempt all existing and future state pharmaceutical serialization and pedigree laws like those that previously existed in California and Florida. Because of the preemption language contained within the DQSA, the information contained within many previous RxTrace essays is now obsolete. Some essays are entirely obsolete and some are only partially obsolete. This is because many of these essays contain ideas and discussion about topics that will also apply to the new federal law in almost the same way that they applied to the California and/or other state laws that are now inoperative. In those cases, the ideas and discussion are not obsolete, only their application to the state law(s) is now obsolete.
The current drafts of the nationwide pharmaceutical track and trace (Pedigree) bills on the floors of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives both include an initial lot-based pedigree requirement that may be based on paper or electronic documentation (see “The Politics Of Federal Track & Trace Legislation”). What is a lot-based pedigree and how is it different from one based on package-level serial numbers? Let’s take a closer look at the kind of system that these bills would require. Keep in mind that the Senate bill would mandate this kind of pedigree system for the next 10 years and the House bill would make it permanent.
On April 26, 2013, Stanley C. Weisser, R.Ph. and President of the California Board of Pharmacy, replied to the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee regarding their discussion draft of a potential federal pharmaceutical track & trace law that had been published one week before. Writing on behalf of the California Board, the letter is eight pages long and includes some very detailed expressions of concern over a few specific sections of the draft. It is well worth reading carefully. You can ask the Board of Pharmacy for a copy, or you can see the copy I obtained here.
On January 17, 2013 a federal grand jury indicted three individuals in 28 counts connected with Cumberland Distribution, a pharmaceutical distribution company licensed in Tennessee, on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. Notably, some of the evidence used against the alleged co-conspirators are the pedigrees that they allegedly forged in an attempt to make their business look legitimate to their unsuspecting customers.
DISCLAIMER: RxTrace contains some of the personal thoughts, ideas and opinions of Dirk Rodgers. The material contained in RxTrace is not legal advice. Dirk Rodgers is not a lawyer. The reader must make their own decisions about the accuracy of the opinions expressed in RxTrace. Readers are encouraged to consult their own legal counsel and trading partners before taking any actions based on information found in RxTrace. RxTrace is not a vehicle for communicating the positions of any company, organization or individual other than Dirk Rodgers.