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NACDS URGES PASSAGE OF DINGELL DRUG DIVERSION BILL

Executive Summary

NACDS URGES PASSAGE OF DINGELL DRUG DIVERSION BILL, expressing "complete support" for the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1986. In June 3 letters to House Energy and Commerce Oversight/Investigations Subcmte. Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rep. James Broyhill (R-NC), National Assn. of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) president Robert Bolger stated: "NACDS firmly believes that H.R. 4820 should be scheduled for expeditious consideration. If hearings are necessary, they should be perfunctory coupled with a mark-up session." The NACDS chief exec noted that the bill is based on five days of hearings, 18 months of investigatory work by the subcmte. and documented in detail by an extensive cmte. report. Dingell still is seeking strong evidence for the proposed legislation and has scheduled three drug diversion hearings for July and August. FDA Com. Frank Young is scheduled to testify at the upcoming sessions. Chances for passage of the Prescription Drug Marketing Act are uncertain. Reportedly, House Health Subcmte. Chairman Waxman (D-Calif.) is not planning to schedule hearings and markup on the measure because it is too late in the legislative session. Even if the bill passes the House, support for the measure has not materialized in the Senate. H.R. 4820, which was introduced by Rep. Dingell on May 14, would make distribution of drug samples by pharmaceutical company sales personnel illegal. The bill restricts MD sampling, requiring physicians to request samples in writing from drug firms. The legislation also calls for more strict licensing requirements for whslrs. and prohibits the resale of drugs purchased at nonprofit discounts ("The Pink Sheet" May 26, p. 12). NACDS' endorsement of the drug diversion bill adds to statements of support from other pharmacy groups. American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) President John Schlegel hailed the legislation as "a major step forward in the Association's 45-year battle to reform drug sampling abuses." In a June release, APhA recommended that Congress revise portions of the bill regarding drug sampling to "more adequately address sampling abuses." The assn. reportedly is working on an amendment that would ban all MD sampling. APhA, however, seems willing to accept the bill as a compromise if passage this year were assured. The American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP) also supports the drug diversion legislation, though the society is in favor of stronger curbs on sampling. The ASHP June newsletter notes the sampling provisions represent a compromise among subcmte. members who differed considerably on the issue. The newsletter asserts that the bill "is consonant" with ASHP's oral testimony on drug diversion before the House Oversight/Investigations subcmte. last December. The National Assn. of Retail Druggists designates "the enactment of the Prescription Drug Marketing Act as NARD's top priority" in a May 15 letter to members of the House of Representatives. NARD sent the letter the day after Dingell's introduction of H.R. 4820 to ask congressmen to cosponsor the bill. The National Assn. of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) also expressed its support in a June 2 mailgram to Rep. Dingell following NABP's annual meeting.
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