Cummings Applauds Senate Passage of Bill to Improve Pharmaceutical Drug Distribution System
Washington, D.C.—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, applauded Senate passage of H.R. 3204, the Drug Quality and Security Act, a bipartisan bill that would improve consumer drug safety. The bill included several provisions, with minor modifications, from legislation Cummings introduced, The Gray Market Drug Reform and Transparency Act of 2013 (H.R. 1958).
“Today’s Senate action was a significant step towards improving drug safety and ensuring efficacy for consumers, problems I have been investigating for several years,” said Cummings. “This legislation will strengthen oversight and transparency of ‘gray market’ drug companies that engage in unethical activities and charge exorbitant prices for drugs used to treat cancer and other life-threatening conditions. It also will ensure that consumers and regulators receive accurate information about drug companies that sometimes operate in the shadows.”
The bill includes a proposal introduced by Cummings to create a new public database of authorized wholesale distributors so consumers and regulators can access information about state licensing status and corporate information. It also includes a requirement from Cummings’ bill for drug wholesalers to report to the Department of Health and Human Services disciplinary actions at the state level in order to prevent unethical companies from opening up shop in their states.
On September, 28, 2013, the House of Representatives passed a similar version of this bill that also included provisions from Cummings’ legislation.
Cummings launched his investigation into “gray market” drug companies after receiving a heartfelt letter in 2011 from Brenda Frese, the head coach of the University of Maryland women’s basketball team, whose three-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a drug called cytarbine that was facing critical shortages.
In July 2012, Cummings jointly issued areport with Chairman Rockefeller of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions that formed the basis for these provisions.