Could Delay Be on the Way?
The California Board of Pharmacy’s Enforcement Committee met January 23 in San Diego to discuss whether to extend its 2009 electronic pedigree implementation deadline. After hearing arguments for and against a stay to 2011, the board reached no conclusion on granting another extension.
A large group, 400 attendees by some estimates, gathered to hear the proceedings. The majority of the speakers asked for a stay of implementation, basing their arguments largely on the fact that no single technology has been officially designated. Drug manufacturers stated that they need to know whether high-frequency RFID, ultra-high-frequency RFID, or 2-D bar codes will be chosen as the official e-pedigree technology. Board members said they’d heard such arguments from manufacturers, as well as confirmation that they’d meet a later date, at previous meetings.
“Present us with ideas, evidence so we can go forward, and not let history repeat itself,” said Stanley Goldenberg, chairperson of the board work group on e-pedigree. “The ball is in your court.”
Some speakers asked that the deadline remain in 2009. “Failure to engage in a timeline is a choice,” said Stephanie Feldman Aleong, former Florida statewide prosecutor who has worked to fight drug counterfeiting. Aleong believes that manufacturers will argue indefinitely over which technology to adopt, and ask for postponement indefinitely. “The board will drive a data carrier decision, not industry,” she said.
At the previous meeting held December 5, the board asked for feedback from those arguing for a stay and provided a template and instructions for the requested information. The 38 letters that came in response appeared paltry to board members, who voiced their dismay. “It’s almost embarrassing that so few companies responded to the template,” said Goldenberg. He added that of those who replied, few provided the requested information.
In closing, board members elected to hold a special session March 25 in San Diego. They insisted that this be a decision-making meeting.