News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Giessel
For Immediate Release: February 14, 2018

Bill to Oversee Wholesale Drug Distributors Passes Senate

Giessel_stamp.jpgSenator Cathy Giessel
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JUNEAU – Today, a bill to license out-of-state wholesale drug distributors unanimously passed the Alaska State Senate.

SB 37, sponsored by Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage), holds out-of-state wholesale drug distributors to the same standard as in-state, creates a more secure drug supply chain, and ensures that Alaskans are receiving non-counterfeit, unadulterated medications.

“With this legislation, Alaska can ensure that out-of-state applicants seeking licensure comply with the same regulations as Alaska wholesalers,” said Sen. Giessel. “SB 37 provides for safe delivery of controlled, non-counterfeit medications to Alaskans.”

The bill requires any out-of-state drug distributor or outsourcing facility to obtain an Alaska license; authorizes inspection by a designee of the Alaska Board of Pharmacy, paid for by the wholesaler; and appoints an agent before shipping, mailing, or delivering prescription drugs to a licensee in the state or advertising in the state, because there needs to be a responsible party for subpoenas, citing for infraction or filing suit in case of problem. 

SB 37 also brings Alaska into compliance with the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) of 2013. The DQSA passed in response to a 2012 national fungal meningitis outbreak originating in a Massachusetts-based facility, which affected 751 people across 20 states, 64 of whom lost their lives. Alaska is currently one of only four states that does not license out-of-state wholesale drug distributors, allowing unscrupulous companies to find loopholes in the regulatory system.

In addition, an Executive Administrator position for the Alaska Board of Pharmacy is created under the bill to give the board greater capacity to respond to more specialized tasks; manage the licensing of new wholesalers; implement statutes and regulations; and manage the multiple new responsibilities of the Board relating to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Until now, the board has relied on the Division of Corporations, Businesses and Professional Licensing for day-to-day operations assistance. This position will be paid with the fees for the wholesale drug distributor licensees along with current licensee fees, not general funds.

SB 37 is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

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