Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has introduced a bill (H.R. 5853) designed to reform the process in which “gray market” drug companies buy drugs in short supply and then resell them at drastically marked-up prices. The Gray Market Drug Reform and Transparency Act of 2012 would prohibit wholesalers from purchasing prescription drugs from pharmacies and “enhance information and transparency regarding drug wholesalers engaged in interstate commerce.”
According to Cummings, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the bill “includes several provisions to address weaknesses in the drug supply chain, deter price gouging, and improve drug safety and efficacy.” Among other things, it would (i) create a national database for wholesalers to report information, such as the status of their state licenses, and establish penalties for false reports or incomplete information; (ii) encourage state regulators to provide “key information” about wholesalers operating in their states; and (iii) require companies selling drugs on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “list of drugs in critically short supply to include in pedigrees transmitted to buyers the sales price of those drugs” so that buyers have information about the drugs’ markups.
“Nobody should be allowed to engage in profiteering at the expense of children and adults with cancer or other critical illnesses by jacking up the price of drugs that are in critically short supply,” Cummings said. “This bill closes down loopholes in the supply chain and ensures that consumers have more information about who is handling their drugs.” See Representative Elijah Cumming Press Release, May 22, 2012.