My good friend Senator Byron Dorgan tacked S.242 Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2007 onto the Senate’s reauthorization of the drug safety bill. Fortunately, an amendment inserted by Senator Cochran neutralized the importation aspect.
In an interesting twist, the RFID Law Blog reports that the Senate’s reauthorization of the PDUFA also includes another amendment that specifically excludes anti-counterfeiting technologies such as RFID or barcodes. According to US Senate Passes Amendment That Bypasses RFID on Pharmaceuticals:
“Buried in the legislation was a provision -- posted earlier on this blog site -- authored by Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, that would require Internet pharmacies selling to US citizens to use tracking technology to minimize the risk of counterfeiting. An amendment to that language, offered by Senator Michael Enzi of Wyoming, legislates a specific technology solution - and it's not RFID. Indeed, it specifically excludes anti-counterfeiting technologies like RFID or barcodes that require readers, scanners or other devices to verify authenticity -- replacing the FDA's preferred tools with anti-counterfeiting technologies akin to those used on US currency.”
Personally, I don’t see how this would anything because it sounds like nothing more than package design security, which has not been a big barrier to counterfeiters. It also becomes irrelevant when products are repackaged or packaging is altered, a persistent concern of Pfizer about parallel trade.
Such a solution also “solves” the authentication challenge facing all anti-counterfeiting system by simply eliminating the need for authentication and serialization.
Whatever -- sounds like I should spend more time in Washington. In the meantime, check out the many comments on RFID Un-Hype. Very lively debate!