WASHINGTON - This week, Congress approved a huge bill that changes how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guarantees the security of the U.S. drug supply, the Associated Press reports. President Barack Obama has indicated he will sign the law.
The measure lengthens the 20-year program that gives funds to the agency€™s budget for looking into new drugs and medical implants. However, legislators tacked on numerous amendments that will impact FDA policy as well as the drug industry overall.
The bill outright banned 28 chemicals used to make so-called "bath salts," often sold under incense, plant food or personal hygiene labels but are used as a drug. Also include are substances used to make synthetic marijuana and synthetic hallucinogens. These synthetic drugs have been known to cause violent and strange behavior in the users.
In announcing the Senate€™s passage of the legislation, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said, "Let this be a warning to those who make a profit manufacturing and selling killer chemical components to our teens and children in the Southern Tier: the jig is up."
Thirty-one states have enacted laws banning or prohibiting the sale of synthetic bath salts. The measure also gives the agency more authority to look into drug factories overseas, increases the penalty for counterfeiting drugs, and loosens some requirements on drugs for life-threatening diseases.