Drugmakers are resuming their annual lobbying battle with the paper industry over an obscure clause slipped into a key spending bill.
The House Appropriations Committee’s legislation to fund the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), brought forward last week, includes a provision preventing the agency from scanning prescribing information.
Congress has passed a similar endorsement every year since 2015 in response to an FDA proposal that would require drug manufacturers to provide certain prescribing information to pharmacists in digital form rather than on paper. Paper industry groups were successful in lobbying Congress to block the agency’s proposed rule.
The Alliance to Modernize Prescribing Information, a group of pharmaceutical companies, is lobbying lawmakers to remove the provision when the bill goes back to the House.
An Alliance spokesperson called the measure “essentially an allotment for the multi-million dollar paper lobby,” arguing that Congress rule mandates paper waste and that paper labels provide pharmacists with benefits. outdated information.
“The continuation of this backward and nefarious policy goes against what the FDA itself has sought since 2014, which is to modernize pharmaceutical information labels by no longer requiring the printing of 90 billion sheets. of unnecessary paper every year, âthe spokesperson told The Colline.
The FDA proposal only applied to prescribing information provided to pharmacists, not patient labels.
The Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group, estimates that Congress’s ban on digital labeling has resulted in the destruction of nearly 30 million trees. The Alliance underscored the environmental impact of the Congressional regime in letters to leading Democrats.
The Pharmaceutical Printed Literature Association, which represents companies involved in the printed prescribing information (PI) supply chain, is the leading paper industry group supporting the rule of Congress.
The association told The Hill that healthcare professionals prefer printed IPs and rural communities without broadband internet cannot reliably access information online.
“The printed PI has been the go-to form of communication that healthcare professionals have relied on in all practice settings, regardless of internet connectivity and internet security challenges,” the group said in a statement. . âPatient safety and the success of prescription drug therapy are best served by keeping the PIs printed. “
The paper industry has a bipartisan group of allies in Congress led by Maine lawmakers. Representative Jared Golden (D-Maine), a main opponent in efforts to digitize prescription information, represents workers at paper mills who manufacture printed leaflets for prescription drugs.
Golden is one of the few remaining Democrats to represent a conservative district, making his re-election campaign key to Democrats’ hopes to retain the House. Golden was re-elected last year by 6 points, even as a former President TrumpDonald Trump Trump Golf Club Reaches 0K Settlement With NJ Over Drunk Driving Accident increased his district by 7 points.
Another bipartisan group of lawmakers is backing down. Rep. Adam kinzingerAdam Daniel Kinzinger Paper industry, drugmakers fight over over requirement to print prescription information Kinzinger says he suspects some lawmakers knew what was coming January 6 Clyburn: Trump could be called to testify before panel of January 6 PLUS (R-Ill.) And Mikie sherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillPaper industry and drugmakers fight over over requirement to print prescription information US recovers millions of cryptocurrency paid to hackers | Chief Scientist: NOAA is “a billion agencies trapped in a budget of 0.5 billion” Chief Scientist: NOAA is “a billion agencies trapped in a budget of 0.5 billion” MORE (DN.J.), with 18 other legislators, wrote a letter to the owners in May urging them to reject language that prevents the digitization of IP.
“Suppliers are already very familiar with electronic labeling information,” lawmakers said in a statement. “Common sense modernization of PI requirements will not only avoid a negative impact on patients, but could actually improve patient care by allowing labeling updates to be shared more easily than would be possible.” updates made in paper form. “
The pharmaceutical industry alliance hopes to get an amendment in the House to remove the FDA provision. The House is expected to vote on the spending bills when lawmakers return from their July 4 recess.