11.18.13

SCHUMER: JUST-PASSED DRUG COMPOUNDING BILL, NOW HEADED TO PRESIDENT FOR SIGNATURE, PROTECTS FINCH PAPER JOBS IN GLENS FALLS SENATOR FOUGHT TO EXCLUDE HARMFUL PROVISION THAT WOULD HAVE REMOVED CRITICAL INFO PACKETS FROM RX DRUGS

brEarlier this Year, The House of Representatives Passed Legislation to Stop Drug Makers From Inserting Paper Print-outs With Critical Rx Drug Info for Pharmacists Would Force Health Care Professionals to Use Potentially Unreliable Access to Online Info Would Have Hindered Finchs BusinessbrbrSchumer Fought to Ensure Provision Would Not Make it Into Final Bill Today, Drug Quality and Security Act Passed the Senate Without the Harmful Provision and Will Head Directly to the Presidents Desk for

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Drug Quality and Security Act has passed the Senate without a provision that would have harmed companies like Finch Paper, and will go to President Obama for his signature. This harmful provision, which was included in the House version of the bill, would have stopped the printing of critical prescription drug information for health care professionals, and instead would have only required the information to be available online. Schumer fought to make sure the provision was not in the final Senate bill, which today passed by voice vote and now heads to the President for his signature.

By requiring the removal of these paper inserts, pharmacists, healthcare professionals and even patients would have been forced to count on sometimes unreliable online access, which is susceptible to threats from natural disasters, hacking and widespread limitations to internet access. Schumer argues that, for the time being, we should err on the side of caution when prescribing medications and include paper package inserts that notify healthcare professionals and patients of the risks, side effects, and best practices for Rx drugs.  In addition, Schumer explained that the provision would have been a job killer for companies like Finch Paper. Schumer noted that Finch Paper is the largest taxpayer in Glens Falls and retaining jobs at their company was and is one of his top priorities to ensure economic stability in the area and to protect the valuable service they provide to health care professionals and consumers. While switching to online prescription information would save a nominal amount of money for the prescription drug industry, improper prescription drug use puts a nearly $30 billion annual strain on the nation's health care system.

"I'm pleased to announce that the 'Drug Quality and Security Act', as amended by the Senate, has passed today without the harmful provision that put Glens Falls jobs at risk.  Finch Paper is one of the Capital Region's most important employers, and the largest taxpayer in Glens Falls, and protecting these jobs was one of my top priorities," said Schumer. "Today is a huge win for this company, and what's more, it's the right policy.  While online access is becoming more and more reliable and accessible, the dispensing of prescription drugs can be a life and death matter; for the time being we should be prudent and continue to include these paper inserts right with the Rx drugs."

"This is great news for Finch Paper and our employees," said Finch Paper President & CEO Deba Mukherjee. "Sen. Schumer visited our mill this summer and pledged that he would keep the damaging antipaper provision out of the final Senate bill, and he has done so. We are extremely grateful for his leadership and his concern for our business." 

Earlier this year, standing at Finch Paper, Schumer announced that Section 8 of House Resolution 1919 and the same section of Senate Bill 959, were unacceptable and that he would fight to strike the provision from the final bill, which today passed as the Drug Quality and Security Act without the provision in question. Currently, the FDA requires that a paper package insert (PI), which is approved by the FDA, be included when the prescriptions are handled by health care professionals. Section 8 of the House legislation would remove that requirement, only requiring that such information be posted online. Schumer explained that waiving the paper requirement posed substantial risk to prescription drug consumers and the paper industry in upstate New York, like Finch Paper which makes some of these inserts.  Today, Schumer announced that he successfully kept Section 8 out of the final Senate bill, which now heads directly to the President for his signature.

Schumer noted that health care professionals have come to rely on these paper inserts, and moving them online, where they are subject to outages, hacking and poor service, makes the access to important prescription drug information potentially unreliable. Furthermore, even though these inserts are only required for health care professionals, they are often requested by patients. Because these PIs are written by the drug manufacturer and approved by the FDA, they are much more reliable than the drug information printed by the pharmacy itself.  In addition, Schumer noted that the savings of moving these inserts online is nothing compared to the savings gained by avoiding adverse drug events, which account for 98,000 deaths per year and annual costs between $17 and $29 billion, many of which are avoidable. When prescribing drugs, Schumer argued that we should err on the side of caution and require that all the information be handed to the health care professionals with the dosages.

Section 8 of the House Resolution would have put the hundreds of jobs at Finch Paper and its sister facility at risk, as well as another 150 jobs tied to the paper industry in Upstate New York. Founded in 1865, Finch Paper is located in the heart of downtown Glens Falls, New York. Finch Paper is an integrated mill, meaning they convert raw logs into pulp, and pulp into paper, all on their Glens Falls campus.



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