Category Archives: PDMA

How Pedigrees Protect The Drug Supply: The Case Against Cumberland Distribution

Cumberland DistributionOn 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.

Now, as the press release about the indictment from the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), Middle District of Tennessee points out, “An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.”  So let’s just look at the evidence and how the DoJ is using it to build their case against the defendants in this case.  From that we can see what impact pedigrees might have in other cases like this.

The charges are for activities that Continue reading How Pedigrees Protect The Drug Supply: The Case Against Cumberland Distribution

Impact of RxUSA v. HHS On Future Pedigree Legislation

I attended the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) Interchange 2011 conference on October 27 in Washington DC.  (I’ll cover that event more fully in a future essay.)  For me, the event couldn’t have been better, but I measure events like this perhaps a little differently than most people.  The agenda is important and the quality of the speakers is absolutely important, but in my view those are simply the things that lead to the one thing that can transform a merely good conference into a great conference:  the quality of the attendees.

(The quality of the attendees is exactly why I like the HDMA Track and Trace Seminar.  BTW, this year’s HDMA event starts this Thursday).

In the case of this year’s PSM event, I rate the quality of the attendees very high, and that’s because I had a number of great conversations with some very knowledgeable people during the breaks and at the social event the evening before.  That was my interaction with the attendees, not the speakers.  One of the topics of conversation surrounded the question of what exactly it was the led to the successful challenge to the Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) pedigree provisions in the RxUSA v. HHS court case and appeal and whether or not the same thing might occur with other drug pedigree laws.


One of the first speakers at the PSM event was U.S. Representative Jim Matheson (D-UT), sponsor of H.R.3026, the “Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2011” which was introduced into the House of Representatives on September 22, 2011.  There are some differences, but the core of this new bill is basically the same as Continue reading Impact of RxUSA v. HHS On Future Pedigree Legislation

PDMA Lawsuit Resolved?

I recently read in Pharmaceutical Commerce online magazine about the apparent resolution of the RxUSA lawsuit that had delayed implementaton of a couple of the pedigree provisions of the Federal PDMA (Prescription Drug Marketing Act).  While Pharmaceutical Commerce did its usual great job of providing historical context, I thought it might be an appropriate topic for the RxTrace blog.  But before I had time to document the history of the PDMA in my own words, Brian Daleiden beat me to it in the Supply Network Blog.  So rather than writing my own version, I gladly refer you to his post.  Between the Pharmaceutical Commerce article and Brian’s post, I have nothing more to say right now.

The Supply Network Blog is a fairly new publication of TraceLink, the successor to SupplyScape, my former employer.  I look forward to hearing more from their blog in the future so I recently subscribed.  Check it out and see what you think.

Pedigree Models and Supply Chain Master Data

Important Notice To Readers of This Essay On November 27, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 into law. That act has many provisions, but one is to pre-empt all existing and future state serialization and pedigree laws like those that previously existed in California and Florida. Some or all of the information contained in this essay is about some aspect of one or more of those state laws and so that information is now obsolete. It is left here only for historical purposes for those wishing to understand those old laws and the industry’s response to them.Right now there is only one industry standard that can be used to comply with the various drug pedigree laws in the United States. That’s the GS1 Drug Pedigree Messaging Standard (DPMS), which was created in 2006 by a group of technology experts and participants from nearly all segments of the U.S. supply chain culminating in GS1 ratification in January 2007. Many of those companies began using DPMS even before it was ratified because the Florida Pedigree Law went into effect in July 2006. Since then, companies are using it to comply with other state pedigree laws as well as for the pedigree provisions of the federal government’s Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) of 1988 (stayed until December 2006). Interestingly, a few companies have chosen to require DPMS pedigrees today for trading partner risk mitigation even where there is no existing regulatory requirement to do so.

A few months after GS1 ratified the DPMS standard, they ratified the Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard. This is a more general purpose standard intended for use in all supply chains that have a need to track and trace serialized products. Everyone acknowledges that it doesn’t make sense to try to use it for compliance with PDMA, Florida or other state pedigree laws because they do not require serialization, but in 2015 the California Pedigree Law will go into effect and one of its unique provisions requires item-level serialization.  Some see this as an ideal place to apply EPCIS.

There are lots of ways to contrast these two standards and their use for pedigree law compliance, but probably the most striking difference is how they each treat Supply Chain Master Data (SCMD). I defined SCMD in a previous post as “…that persistent, non-transactional data that defines a business entity for which there is, or should be, an agreed upon view across the supply chain.


Addresses are an example of a “business entity” that can be treated as SCMD. GS1 defines a location identifier they call a Global Location Number (GLN) that can be used to refer to an address. A GLN is a structured series of digits that can be assigned to refer to a single address (among other things). Refer to the GS1 General Specification for the details. Continue reading Pedigree Models and Supply Chain Master Data