APHA URGES Rx E-PEDIGREE TO CURB DRUG COUNTERFEITING
A congressional crackdown on pharmaceutical counterfeitersshould start with a switch to a "national electronicpedigree" for prescription drugs, an official of the AmericanPharmacists Association (APhA) told a House GovernmentReform subcommittee.
The APhA has long supported the use of a "pedigree" ordocumentation of the movement of medication through thedistribution chain to the pharmacy counter. The associationofficial warned Congress, however, that a paper-based pedigreesystem for tracking pharmaceuticals "could negativelyimpact the security of our drug-distribution system by creatinga false sense of security."
Warning that drug counterfeiters could forge paper Rx pedigreesto create "a trail as fake as the product it accompanies," APhA Vice President Susan Winckler said that "an entity sophisticatedenough to counterfeit a [drug] product?would be equallycapable of counterfeiting a paper pedigree" for that drug.
Winckler urged Congress to lead a coordinated effort involvingpharmacists, drug manufacturers, and others to replace paperdocumentation with a nationwide e-pedigree system for pharmaceuticals.Significantly, however, she cautioned against allowingstates to set their own pedigree requirements for drugs, even ifthose rules are more rigorous than the federal rules. A series ofinconsistent state requirements for pharmaceuticals would "createloopholes that unscrupulous operators will exploit," Wincklerwarned the subcommittee.