''FDA user fee bill gives agency new powers to inspect overseas prescription drug plants''
"A Food and Drug Administration bill designed to increase inspections of foreign drug factories, while also speeding approvals of new drugs at home, is headed to the president’s desk after an overwhelming approval in the U.S. Senate.
The core of the bill is critical to the FDA: It bolsters the agency’s budget with billions of dollars in drug industry fees for scientists who review new medicines. For the first time, generic drugmakers will pay review fees to speed the approval of their products. Branded drugmakers have paid those fees for 20 years.
Lawmakers seized on the legislation to address recent concerns about the safety and quality of prescription medicines, especially those that are imported. The bill also gives the FDA new tools to fight counterfeiting and drug shortages, which have made headlines in the past year.
"This legislation will, for the first time, enable the FDA to regularly inspect foreign drug manufacturing facilities, which supply 80 percent of the ingredients in our medications,” said Allan Coukell, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ medical programs.
The risks of unchecked foreign drug manufacturing hit home in 2008, when hundreds of U.S. patients suffered allergic reactions — some fatal — to a blood thinner imported from China. An FDA investigation concluded the drug had been contaminated, to reduce costs, with an ingredient that mimics the blood thinner heparin.
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation held a hearing on Feb 16 entitled "Counterfeit Drugs: Fighting Illegal Supply Chains." Elizabeth Jungman, director of drug safety and innovation testified on counterfeit drugs the importance that newly passed Drug Quality and Security Act will have on the safety of the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain.
The following case studies illustrate breaches to the pharmaceutical supply chain—the route a drug travels from its raw material origins to the delivery of a finished medicine. These examples, all of which are discussed in Pew Health Group’s report After Heparin: Protecting Consumers from the Risks of Substandard and Counterfeit Drugs, demonstrate the different ways in which contaminated, fake, or otherwise unsafe medicine can reach patients, and underscore the need for reform. More info
The landmark Drug Quality and Security Act was signed into law in late 2013 to address these risks and to create a new national framework for securing the drug distribution supply chain. Title II of the law, the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, establishes a national system to enable supply chain partners and regulators to trace back each package of a drug from the pharmacy where it is dispensed to the manufacturer. More info
The Pew Charitable Trusts drafted a letter to the HIT Policy Committee, Meaningful Use Workgroup of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology regarding the new meaningful use objective for the capture of unique device identifiers (UDIs) in electronic health records (EHRs). In the letter, Pew asks the committee to consider how the proposed objective for UDI capture advances several goals of the meaningful use program and addresses feedback previously provided. More info
On Nov. 27, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the landmark Drug Quality and Security Act, a new law designed to improve safety within the U.S. pharmaceutical supply by addressing these risks. Title I of the act contains important updates to oversight systems for pharmaceutical compounding. Compounding—the creation of customized medicines to meet patients’ unique needs—is traditionally practiced by pharmacies and regulated by state authorities. Over the years, this activity has expanded to include companies that compound medicine on a large scale but do not undergo the same scrutiny given to pharmaceutical manufacturers. More info
On January 31, Pew submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in response to draft guidance on the implementation of Title I of the Drug Quality and Security Act and addressed five topics: anticipatory and office stock compounding; quality standards; FDA / state coordination; MOUs to address inordinate interstate shipment of compounded drugs; use of bulk drug substances. More info
The FDA wants to create an expedited approval pathway for high-risk medical devices for unmet needs, saying current tools at its fingertips are ineffective for speedier approvals. More info
For patients in the United States with serious medical conditions, access to new medical technologies can make the difference between life or death. Those patients rely on new devices—such as implantable pacemakers or new cancer diagnostics—to treat, cure, or diagnose debilitating or life-threatening conditions. More info
On Thursday, January 30, The Pew Charitable Trusts will hold an interactive conference with leading experts from FDA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the medical device industry, patients, consumers, private payors and other key health policy stakeholders to explore patient access to devices for unmet medical needs. More info
On Nov. 27, President Barack Obama signed the landmark Drug Quality and Security Act, a law that aims to improve the safety of the U.S. pharmaceutical supply. Title I of the act contains important updates to oversight systems for pharmaceutical compounding, and on Dec. 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, released for public comment six guidance and regulatory documents for implementing the new law. More info
A small number of U.S. compounding pharmacies have begun registering with the Food and Drug Administration under new legislation designed to tighten control of the custom medication makers following a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to a pharmacy in Massachusetts. More info
On September 19, 2013, the House Medical Technology Caucus and The Pew Charitable Trusts held a briefing on how the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) new unique device identifier (UDI) system can improve patient care. Speakers discussed the implementation of FDA's new rule, as well as incorporation of UDI into healthcare delivery, particularly patients’ medical records, supply chain logistics and insurance claims. More info
On Nov. 18, 2013, Congress passed the landmark Drug Quality and Security Act, bipartisan legislation to safeguard the U.S. pharmaceutical supply from counterfeit and contaminated drugs. The act creates a national system to track and authenticate prescription medications as they progress from the manufacturer to the patient. It also addresses the risks posed by drugs made by large-scale compounding pharmacies. More info
Congressional hearings on health care can be contentious, but the story will be different today (November 19), when the bipartisan House Medical Technology Caucus convenes a forum with representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , manufacturers, and hospitals to discuss how new tracking codes for medical devices can enhance recalls and assessments of heart stents, glucose monitors, and other products patients need. More info
The U.S. Senate on Monday approved a bill designed to prevent the type of quality control problems that led last year to a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis traced to a tainted pharmaceutical mixed by a Massachusetts pharmacy. More info