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Drug import bill sidetracked as food safety measure advances ahead of health reform freight train

This article was originally published in The Gold Sheet

Executive Summary

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has sidetracked drug and device import legislation to concentrate on food safety in the short window before healthcare reform dominates its agenda. Observers are left wondering when the committee will get around to advancing the non-food aspects of the Food and Drug Globalization Act it reintroduced earlier this year. Some of those provisions, like registration and fees for post-approval inspections of overseas drug manufacturing facilities, were a high priority in the months after last year's heparin fiasco. The committee June 17 marked up its Food Safety Enhancement Act, H.R. 2749, which incorporates food-related provisions from the tabled FDAGA, and rushed it on for consideration by the full House. "It seems like drug safety and medical devices will be worked in the near future," a Dingell spokesman assured "The Gold Sheet." However, healthcare reform legislation looms. "Clearly, it is a crowded calendar," the spokesman noted, "but this is something all the members want dealt with as soon as possible.

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