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CU to testify at House hearing on drug safety

September 28, 2010

Consumers Union to Testify at House Hearing on Drug Safety
CU senior health policy analyst Bill Vaughn says discussion draft of legislation
“would make fundamental improvements in American drug safety”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bill Vaughan, senior health policy analyst for Consumers Union, will testify at a congressional hearing on a recently-circulated discussion draft of drug safety legislation this Thursday, September 30.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health will hold the hearing, which starts at 10 am at 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.
The discussion draft by Reps. Waxman, Dingell, Pallone, and Stupak would provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the authority and budget needed to improve the safety and quality of drugs manufactured at home and aboard. The draft requires parity between foreign and domestic drug facility inspections, increases the number of drug inspections, and prohibits the entry of drugs into the United States lacking documentation of safety.
Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine and the web sites ConsumerReportsHealth.org and BestBuyDrugs.org, has endorsed the legislative draft.
In his prepared testimony for the upcoming hearing, Vaughn said, “The evidence supporting the need for this bill, particularly its international provisions, is overwhelming. The bill will make fundamental improvements in American drug safety.
“Basically, the bill will change the current system, where the FDA plays chase and catch-up, to a system where suppliers will have to be proactive on specific safety and quality issues, and the FDA will have more resources to verify compliance with reasonable safety requirements.
“We hope a way can be found to pass this legislation before the end of the year. We understand how difficult that could be given the time pressures. But every day that we delay in enacting this type of legislation is another day that the American people are vulnerable to deadly medicines or worthless placebo pills. Given the fortunes that can be made by counterfeiting medicines, we are very lucky every day that passes that there has not been another public health scandal. Unless we act, we are just waiting for another disaster to happen.”
For a copy of Vaughn’s full testimony, visit: http://www.consumersunion.org/pdf/Vaughn-Test-drug-safety.pdf
Contact: David Butler, 202-462-6262