The Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee has just voted unanimously to combine their current draft of “S. 957, Drug Supply Chain Security Act” with their current draft of “S. 959, Pharmaceutical Compounding Quality and Accountability Act” and pass the result onto the Senate floor for consideration. No amendments were offered in today’s session on either bill before the action. All committee members who spoke on behalf of both bills spoke very favorably about them. Now that the bills have been combined they will retain the number S. 959 if I understood the wording of the vote correctly.
This action, combined with the action in the House of Representatives last week (see “InBrief: A Track And Trace Bill Has Made It To The House Floor”), indicates that members of Congress now have a strong interest in passing a bill that increases the federal regulation of the pharmaceutical supply chain and that eliminates the patchwork of state laws (ehem…eliminates the California pedigree law), one way or another.
It is hard to imagine the Senate bill not passing the full Senate by a wide margin. The next question, however, is whether or not the full Senate will end up modifying the bill in any way during the floor debate, prior to the vote to pass. The same goes for the House version. For more on my thoughts between the House and Senate versions, see “An Industry Protection Bill Concealed Under The Veil Of Patient Protection”. Before either of these bills become a law the two houses will need to work together to come up with a single version. But that’s getting a little ahead of where things are right now. First things first. Let’s look forward to the debates on the House and Senate floors in the coming weeks/months.