Civica Applauds U.S. Legislation to Shift from Paper to Electronic Prescribing Information

I am writing in support of the H.R. 7559, the Prescription Information Modernization Act, which would allow provision of prescribing information in an electronic format, instead of on paper.

Civica is a non-profit generic drug company established by U.S. health systems and three philanthropic organizations to reduce chronic drug shortages and ensure a safe and stable supply of essential medicines to U.S. patients. Through our CivicaScript initiative, we are also focused on lower drug costs for patients in the retail pharmacy setting.

The current requirement to include printed prescribing information with every package of drug is costly, wasteful and does not benefit patients or providers. Paper package inserts are almost always discarded. They are not designed for patients and are almost never given to them. Physicians generally don’t receive them because they don’t handle the physical drug. Yet, each year 450,000 tons of paper is printed, shipped, and sent to the dump. [1]

It has been more than 13 years since FDA proposed eliminating the paper requirement – a change that Congress has blocked, in large part at the bidding of paper manufacturers. In addition to the direct costs of printing and shipping unnecessary paper, the inclusion of a paper package insert creates additional costs. For example, Civica maintains several months’ supply of drug on hand to mitigate shortages. If the prescribing information is updated during that time, we would incur the cost of either destroying the drug or updating packaging information in a warehouse, which creates compliance costs in addition to direct costs.

All these costs are eventually passed on to patients and the US healthcare system. By shifting to electronic labeling, your proposed legislation would eliminate waste, reduce cost and reduce the risk that someone receives an out-of-date prescribing information. It ensures that anyone wishing to receive a paper copy of the package insert could still do so.

Thank you for advancing this commonsense policy that has too long been blocked by special interests. Please do not hesitate to contact Allan Coukell, Civica’s Senior Vice President for Public Policy at allan.coukell@civicarx.org if we can be of assistance as this legislation moves
forward.

 

Sincerely,

Martin VanTrieste
President and Chief Executive Officer

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1 1 Alliance to Modernize Prescribing Information. https://modernizeprescribinginfo.com/waste/.  Accessed 4/22/2022

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