Counterfeit drugs are a growing problem and they cause great harm. The victims are often people who need real, quality drugs the most--cancer patients, AIDS patients and people being treated for heart disease. Experts predict that the worldwide market for counterfeit drugs will grow to $75 billion annually by 2010. Bogus drugs are notoriously difficult to detect with the untrained eye and even experts sometimes require full forensic lab tests to determine wither a suspect product has been tampered with.
Matheson's bipartisan bill-- The Securing America's Pharmaceuticals Act -HR 5839--would create one uniform national pedigree system--a record of every transaction involving a pharmaceutical shipment. It would create a tracking system, using technologies like 2D barcodes, radio frequency chips, nanotechnology, etc. to enable drugs to be followed from point of manufacture to doctor's office or pharmacy. Also, it would authorize the FDA to destroy its seizure of counterfeit drugs, rather than the current practice of returning seized drugs to the counterfeiters. Creating a uniform national standard and strengthening current laws and regulations are important steps to securing our healthcare supply chain.