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Obama signs organized retail crime legislation
October 22nd, 2012
WASHINGTON – A new law that community pharmacy advocates say will help ensure consumer safety by battling organized retail crime was signed into law earlier this month by President Obama.
The Strengthening and Focusing Enforcement to Deter Organized Stealing and Enhance Safety Act of 2012, also known as the Safe Doses Act unanimously passed the Senate late last month after being approved by the House of Representatives in late June.
“Community pharmacy considers itself a partner in helping law enforcement curb criminal activities that can compromise consumer safety,” National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson says. “This legislation empowers law enforcement to combat the serious problem of organized theft of medical products and bring down these illegal operations.”
Proponents of the Safe Doses Act say the law strengthens the ability of law enforcement agencies across the country to break up sophisticated crime rings that harm consumers.
These rings, they explain, attempt to resell stolen medical products on the black market, including prescription drugs, biologicals, devices and infant formula. Consumers are placed at risk when these stolen products are stored under unsafe conditions, or otherwise tampered with, and then sold on the black market, which includes illegal Internet drug purveyors.
“As longtime advocates for strengthening the nation’s health care supply chain, we are pleased that penalties have been increased for rogue criminals who steal and introduce diverted products into the system,” Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) president and chief executive officer John Gray says.
“Large-scale medical product theft continues to be a problem for the health care industry,” he says. “Combined with the sophisticated security systems and practices that HDMA members and other industry stakeholders have put into place, these significant penalties will make it tougher for criminals to steal vital pharmaceuticals and, in the long run, protect patient safety by preventing compromised products from entering the legitimate supply chain.”
Pharmacy advocates have praised the bill’s sponsors — Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) — for the role they played in getting the bill through Congress and before the president.