3 lawmakers target FDA's proposed electronic-prescription rule

Three Maine lawmakers in Washington, D.C., want the FDA to drop the proposed “Electronic Distribution of Prescribing Information for Human Prescription Drugs, Including Biological Products” rule. | Contributed photo

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) sent a letter on Tuesday to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the FDA to withdraw the proposed “Electronic Distribution of Prescribing Information for Human Prescription Drugs, Including Biological Products” rule.

The rule would permit pharmaceutical companies to substitute electronic prescription information for the paper inserts that are currently available to physicians, pharmacists and other health care professionals.

Should the rule take effect, it would have a negative impact on health care providers who use the written information, as well as on rural families and seniors who have limited Internet access in Maine, the lawmakers said.

“Pharmaceutical paper inserts are an important tool for our pharmacists and health care professionals that are in charge of administering life-saving medications to our hard-working families and seniors,” Collins, King and Poliquin said in a joint statement. “While we are pleased the public comment period has been extended, we will continue to press FDA to reconsider and withdraw this harmful proposed rule.”

The comment period for the proposed rule has been extended to May 18, allowing the FDA to receive more input.

“This would be acutely felt by rural Americans who live in areas with limited Internet access,” the letter said. “It would also affect patients and health care providers when electronic technologies are unavailable, including during a power outage or in the wake of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. We hope the FDA will agree to withdraw this proposed rule.”

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Organizations in this story

U.S. Senator Susan Collins 68 Sewall Street Augusta, ME - 04330