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House Passes Upton Bill to Prevent Repeat of Deadly Meningitis Outbreak, Strengthen Prescription Drug Supply Chain

Washington, DC, September 28, 2013 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761)
Click here to watch Upton’s Floor remarks

The House of Representatives today passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, to improve drug safety and help prevent a future public health crisis like the 2012 deadly meningitis outbreak tied to the New England Compounding Center (NECC). H.R. 3204, the Drug Quality and Security Act, is the result of a thorough investigation led by Upton’s Committee into the cause of the recent public health catastrophe, which has infected 750 individuals and left 64 dead nationwide. By all accounts, Michigan families have been hardest hit by the contamination, totaling 264 cases and 19 deaths, including 3 fatalities from Upton’s own district.

The Senate is expected to consider the legislation hopefully in the next couple of days, after which it will be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“To all the families who have lost loved ones and to those who are still suffering today, with this bill we say ‘never again,’” said Upton. “By all accounts, Michigan has been the hardest hit by the outbreak – with 19 lives needlessly lost including three in my district - and the sad truth is, it could have been prevented. This legislation is an important step in helping prevent any such tragedy from occurring again. 

“H.R. 3204 also strengthens the prescription drug supply chain in order to protect American families against counterfeit drugs while eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars of duplicative government red tape that is harming Michigan businesses like Perrigo and Pfizer. 

“I am proud to say that this piece of legislation is a product of true bipartisan and bicameral work. The Senate and the House, Republicans and Democrats came together to produce a bill that will protect American patients by ensuring they receive safe drugs.”

H.R. 3204 will protect traditional pharmacies and clarify laws related to human drug compounding in response to the nationwide meningitis outbreak and will strengthen the prescription drug supply chain in order to protect American families against counterfeit drugs.

The legislation will also create a uniform national standard for drug supply chain security to protect Americans against counterfeit drugs while eliminating needless government red tape. It will help prevent increases in drug prices, avoid additional drug shortages and eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars worth of duplicative government regulations that impact Michigan employers like Perrigo and Pfizer.

H.R. 3204 legislation will also clarify FDA’s authority over the compounding of human drugs while requiring the agency to engage and coordinate with states to ensure the safety of compounded drugs. 

The complete text of the bill is online here.

A fact sheet of the bill is online here.

Letters of support can be found online here.

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