Today U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (PA-07) visited the Springfield Pharmacyto highlight his recently passed legislation, the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act, which increases penalties for trafficking counterfeit drugs. The current penalties are no different than those for trafficking other products, such as electronics or clothing. Meehan's legislation is expected to soon become law.
"I'm very pleased that my legislation has received bipartisan, bicameral support and will soon become law," said Meehan. "Today we're bringing awareness to this issue. We know that many seniors are turning to the Internet to purchase discount prescriptions, understandably so given today's difficult economy. All too often, the drugs they receive are counterfeit. Although it's illegal to traffic in counterfeit goods, current law clearly is not an adequate deterrent. Stronger penalties are needed to deter the sale of these dangerous counterfeit drugs."
Meehan was joined by Springfield Police Chief Joe Daly, Chichi Ilonzo Momah, Manager of the Springfield Pharmacy, and representatives from the Delaware County Office of Services for the Aging and the Fair Acres Geriatric Center, a long-term care facility in Delaware County.
"We are grateful for Congressman Meehan's attention to the important issue of cracking down on counterfeit drugs," said Chief Daly. "We often see how unsuspecting seniors fall victim to counterfeiters. These drugs can be extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal. The counterfeiters themselves are sometimes linked to sophisticated criminal operations. Congressman Meehan's legislation will help deter these crimes and keep people safe."
"As a pharmacist, I understand the danger that patients face when they are not taking the right medication," said Chichi Ilonzo Momah. "Counterfeit drugs are typically purchased online and patients have no way of knowing that the medications they are taking aren't what they should be. Often they contain harmful ingredients. I want to thank Congressman Meehan for his hard work to stop this harmful practice."
Following House passage, Meehan's legislation was then included in the FDA User Fee Reauthorization Bill which was passed by the House this week and is expected to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President. Meehan's legislation has broad bipartisan support in Congress and has been endorsed by AARP and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.