Senate sends drug bill to Obama's desk

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The Senate passed a compound drug bill Monday by voice-vote.

The Drug Quality and Security Act, H.R. 3204, would make it easier to trace drugs throughout the U.S. supply chain.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) introduced the bill after recent fungal meningitis outbreaks caused by unsanitary conditions at a compounding drug factory — 64 people died. 

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The House passed the measure in September, meaning the bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature before becoming law.

The bill broadens the authority of the Food and Drug Administration to better regulate the manufacturing of compound drugs to ensure they are safer. It also contains anti-counterfeit drug provisions.

“We know more from a barcode on a gallon of milk than we do from a barcode on a bottle of prescription drugs, which could mean the difference between life and death," Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said after the vote. "Whether it’s a stronger drug supply chain or better oversight for compounded drugs, this commonsense bill will help restore confidence in our prescription drugs and protect our families from potential health risks.”

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) had been filibustering the bill in an effort to get an amendment vote on his Show Your Exemption Act, which would force members of Congress to disclose which of their staff they have exempted from enrolling in the ObamaCare health exchange.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) didn’t give Vitter the vote, saying if he did it would be allowing one senator to “dictate” the Senate.

Vitter said he would also try to get a vote on his bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate will debate this week.

This article was updated at 3:10 p.m.