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Public Statements

Safeguarding America's Pharmaceuticals Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MICHAUD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express opposition to H.R. 1919.

Specifically, I rise to express concern with section 8 of this bill, which allows prescription drug labeling for physicians, pharmacists, and other health care professionals to be provided solely by electronic means.

This provision is flawed on multiple levels. First, Internet access in rural States like mine can often be intermittent at best. In an area with low Internet connectivity or reliability, health care providers would not automatically have the necessary information about the drugs to make sure that they're being administered and prescribed appropriately. This is even true in areas that have good Internet connectivity, but may have been hit by a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy.

Second, eliminating the paper labeling requirement will have repercussions for the industry that it supports. There are more than 10,000 jobs nationwide associated with the printing of this sensitive information.

In Maine, the paper industry supports 7,000 workers, including hundreds in the pharmaceutical paper industry. These workers are part of an important industry that keeps health care professionals, dispensers, and consumers informed about their drugs. Section 8 would jeopardize the jobs of more than 1,000 Mainers.

Finally, legislation passed during the 112th Congress required GAO to conduct a study of the advantages and risks of electronic-only labeling of pharmaceuticals. This study is due to be released next month. Passing this legislation that preempts the finding of this study is bad policy. So I would urge my colleagues to support informed health care professionals and consumers and to fight for more than 10,000 manufacturing jobs across the country. So I would urge a ``no'' vote on H.R. 1919.


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