Prescription drugs that aren’t the real deal — fake substitutes that have been adulterated, mislabeled, misbranded or otherwise tainted so some bootlegger can make a quick buck — can seriously harm patients. Maybe even worse.
And while they’re illegal under federal law, Colorado’s statute on the subject has some gaps.
Legislation to plug those holes got a thumbs-up in a Senate committee today after having been adopted earlier in the session by the state House of Representatives. House Bill 1224, sponsored in the upper chamber by Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, unanimously passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
The bill levies fines of $1,000 to $10,000 for the adulteration of drugs or the sale or possession or misrepresentation of adulterated drugs.
From a Senate GOP news release on the bill:
In 2017 alone, 13 criminal indictments have been filed by the FDA regarding misbranded, mislabeled or counterfeit drugs.
Black market, misbranded drugs often do not contain the same active ingredients as their FDA-approved counterparts, or may even contain toxic substitutes that can seriously harm patients who need them the most.
“There are horror stories about cancer patients receiving medications that lack the active ingredient,” said Gardner. “This is absolutely preventable. Health care professionals place themselves and the public at risk when they seek out unethical and unlicensed cost-cutting measures. We should ensure that we always look to provide the highest quality of care for Colorado patients.”