Gino DiCaro

State Board of Pharmacy delays drug-tracking system

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, April 11, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The California State Board of Pharmacy has delayed the implementation of a law requiring electronic tracking of all prescription drugs to reduce the chance of counterfeits entering the supply chain until 2011.  This is the second delay for the law, which was passed in 2004 and makes California the only state in the country to have approved such a stringent drug-tracking requirement. The law originally was set to go into effect last year but was delayed to January 1, 2009.

Stakeholders argued that they needed more time to implement a drug-tracking system, known as a pedigree. The law requires manufacturers to use electronic devices that can trace every place the drug travels in the chain from manufacturer to wholesaler or secondary wholesaler and eventually to a pharmacy or other destination.  Board officials were concerned that if they didn't give manufacturers enough time to comply, the law would be poorly implemented or drugmakers would refuse to sell their medications in California.

While experts say the risk of getting a counterfeit drug is relatively low, the number of counterfeit drug cases investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration increased nearly tenfold from 2000 to 2004. Without a method to trace where the drug has been, it's difficult to pinpoint when a counterfeit drug entered the chain.

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