Legislation for a national pharmaceutical track-and-trace system gained steam on the Hill this week. On Friday, the House Energy and Commerce committee approved its version of the track-and-trace legislation, H.R. 1919. Yesterday, right on the heels of the House, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved their own version of the legislation, S. 957, and then combined it with new compounding legislation.
Each bill aims to create an interoperable, electronic, unit-level tracing system for the U.S. drug supply chain aimed at protecting people from fake medicines, recalls, and stolen or expired medicines. Both bills seek to accomplish this goal in a step-wise and scalable manner to ensure it will be implemented by different parts of the supply chain in staggered way. The work begins immediately and eventually will lead to a full track and trace system with roles for each stakeholder in the supply chain, from manufacturers that make the drugs to the pharmacists that dispense them to patients.
There are some differences in the two bills, but both contain the underlying principles and requirements that will improve drug safety in the United States with a comprehensive, national system. The bills go a long way toward the development of a single, national system to follow medicines as they travel through the supply chain. By strengthening the chain, these bills will help provide patients with peace of mind on the safety and efficacy of their medications.
Lilly joins other supply-chain stakeholders in congratulating Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Fred Upton, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Alexander as well as Senators Bennet and Burr and other Congressional champions of these bills on this great accomplishment. We applaud this milestone and look forward to working with Congress as they partner to improve and eventually pass the legislation into law.