HDMA to work closely with officials in H1N1 response
ARLINGTON, Va. The Healthcare Distribution Management Association recently sent a letter detailing the critical role of primary healthcare distributor members in the response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic to more than 100 officials, including governors and state public health directors, the association announced Tuesday.
The association noted its distributor members’ commitment to working closely with the CDC, state and local public health officials, healthcare providers, pharmacists and manufacturers to ensure that millions of antivirals and medical products are delivered safely and efficiently to pharmacies, physicians’ offices and hospitals nationwide.
To facilitate the continuous flow of information between public health officials and HDMA distributor members, HDMA provided a list of state-specific distributor company contacts, informing state officials that HDMA members are prepared to answer questions related to emergency preparedness efforts.
“The H1N1 outbreak last spring underscored that communication is key to maximizing our country’s ability to respond to this public health emergency — across the entire healthcare supply chain, and especially with federal, state and local health officials,” stated John Gray, HDMA president and CEO. “HDMA members are working with all of these key players, to facilitate the safe and reliable delivery of needed vaccines, medicines and supplies to respond to the current influenza outbreak, as they have done for decades.”
NPA testifies against illegal steroids
NEW YORK Here’s the breakdown: Two government officials representing the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency joined Travis Tygart of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (the body responsible for keeping performance-enhancing drugs out of U.S. Olympic athletes), Daniel Fabricant of the Natural Products Association and Richard Kingham, a litigator specialized in food/drug law, before a panel of senators — less to inform the Senate around the problem of steroids sold as dietary supplements, and more to be grilled by those senators as to why those products are actually on any market.
The senators were Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Arlen Specter, D-Pa., who played a sort of good cop/bad cop routine. Hatch was the good cop, at least as the dietary supplement industry goes, as he defended the legislation governing the regulation of dietary supplements that he helped draft some 15 years ago. Specter played the bad cop — questioning the regulatory priorities of the two governing bodies present, while raising the thought of adding more regulations to the FDA and/or DEA already-underutilized toolbox.
Following the hearing, dietary supplements emerged as the unwilling participants in all of this talk around performance enhancing supplements. You almost had to wonder why Fabricant was present, except to politely remind everyone that the dietary supplement manufacturers who actually distribute product through mass-channel retailers actually fought for (as in not against) such additional regulations as certified good manufacturing practices or mandated serious adverse event reports, and as such are not likely to field illegal products.
At stake in all of this is whether or not legitimate dietary supplement players ought to seek premarket approval, a condition that if ever really implemented, would decimate any future innovation in the almost $6 billion mass-channel business (according to the latest Nielsen Company figures). It’s also a condition that wouldn’t actually do much to pull those steroid drugs masquerading as supplements off the market, unless you expect those well-respected criminals to actually file an NSA (new supplement application) that contained ingredients that would not only land their consumers in the hospital, but would also land them in jail if ever actually discovered in the trunks of their cars.
The alternative, proposed by Hatch, is to place more resources behind enforcement of the laws on the book, as opposed to creating new laws that would more likely cripple legitimate manufacturers as actually inhibit outliers from selling steroids.
Report: Oklahoma may reverse-switch PSE law
OKLAHOMA CITY According to an Associated Press report published Thursday, Oklahoma may join California in considering the reverse-switch of pseudoephedrine, making the common decongestant available only with a doctor’s prescription, in an effort to stem methamphetamine production.
Oklahoma arrests for methamphetamine production have risen sharply over the past 18 months, peaking in April when 37 cases involving a total of 74 defendants were filed in state district court, according to the report.
Rep. Lucky Lamons, D-Tulsa, Okla., announced plans to introduce the reverse-switch legislation in 2010.
Both the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association oppose the proposed measure, arguing that the are policies in place, if enforced, would effectively stem meth production while still maintaining legitimate access to the cold medicine.
Similar to California and in Missouri, CHPA has offered to fund a state-wide electronic logging system that would enable law enforcement to track people attempting to purchase more than their legal limit in PSE products in real time.
Oregon is currently the only state that requires a prescription for pseudoephedrine products.