By Katie Wike, contributing writer
President Obama recently signed a bill to create an electronic drug tracking system that can prevent recalled drugs from getting to patients
Prompted by the outbreak of fungal meningitis through tainted steroids in 2012, President Obama has signed The Drug Quality and Security Act into law in order to electronically track drugs. The 2012 event exposed more than 13,000 patients to the infection with more than 700 cases reported - 64 resulting in deaths.
Drug tracking has become the safest bet to prevent another outbreak with deadly consequences. RFID technology has made scanning and tracking drugs from the hospital pharmacy to patient bedsides incredibly accurate and easy for providers. Health IT Outcomes reported earlier this year that one hospital receives word of nearly 300 drug recalls a year and uses RFID scanners to make sure those drugs don’t reach patients.
Now those recalled drugs are being tracked before they even reach the hospital. With the new bill, federal regulators can track drugs that compounding pharmacies are making, receive reports about problems with the compounded drugs, and have authority to conduct safety inspections. According to iHealthBeat, the legislation will also allow compounding pharmacies to register as outsourcing facilities and be treated as traditional drug manufacturers by the FDA.
The Huffington Post reported, “The law also creates a national set of standards to track pharmaceuticals through the distribution chain to help thwart the introduction of fake medications into the drug supply.” This comes after fake vials of a cancer treatment drug were discovered in the United States.
“With the president’s signature today, this bipartisan law will help prevent future crises like last year’s deadly fungal meningitis outbreak while also establishing a unified framework for maintaining safety throughout the drug supply chain. Across the nation, Americans going to their doctor’s office or pharmacy will now have the confidence that their drugs are safe,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton in a press release.
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