Landmark Legislation: Consumer Protection MedWatch Phone Number Placed on Generic Prescription Drug Containers in Connecticut

July 15th, 2015 | Breaking News

For immediate release: July 15, 2015
Contact Sheila Matthews, Cofounder AbleChild (203) 253-0329
Westport, Connecticut

Landmark Legislation: Consumer Protection
MedWatch Phone Number Placed on Generic Prescription Drug Containers in Connecticut

AbleChild is pleased to announce the passage of Connecticut SB 28, a bill that makes it mandatory for all generic prescription drug containers to carry the 1-800 MedWatch telephone number. This is a first-in-the-nation legislative action to provide this important consumer information and a landmark win for consumers in Connecticut. In February of 2015, AbleChild proposed an amendment to SB 28, taking the unique opportunity to propose this very specific protection on behalf of the consumers.

MedWatch is a drug safety reporting system made available to consumers to allow direct reporting of Adverse Drug Events to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Information provided to MedWatch, by consumers, provides a unique tool to the FDA by giving the federal agency the ability to identify adverse reactions and monitor prescription drugs. The information collected about adverse reactions is used to determine if FDA action is needed on a specific drug.

According to the FDA, it receives information on less than 1% of the actual adverse drug reactions (ADRs) from the consumers. Prescription drugs are currently responsible for killing more people annually than illegal drugs, and according to Tom Friden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “It’s a big problem and getting worse.” Furthermore, according to the Medical Journal of Medicine, prescription drugs are responsible for 291 deaths every day.

Representative David Baram of Bloomfield, co-chairman of the General Law Committee, stated that, “The passage of legislation requiring the MedWatch information to be provided with prescription medications is a positive consumer bill.  I applaud Sheila Matthews for bringing this to our attention and helping us to pass this great consumer protection legislation.  Now consumers will have information on how they can report adverse prescription reactions so the manufacturers can review medication issues, and the FDA can re-evaluation safety concerns.  This is a major consumer protection that will help promote the safe use and manufacturing of medicines that many of us rely on to live productive lives.”

Senator Joe Markley, who also supported AbleChild’s efforts from the beginning said, “I’m delighted at the progress AbleChild has made in getting out the word on MedWatch, which will enhance the conversation on prescription drugs.  Reactions to these drugs differ dramatically, and it’s important that people who have a bad experience have a place to report what happened.  I hope we can do more to let people know about MedWatch, and to make them aware of the problems sometimes associated with certain prescription drugs.”

AbleChild’s amendment received bipartisan support and was unanimously passed on June 1, 2015. AbleChild would like to acknowledge and thank the cosponsors of this important consumer protection legislation, including Senator Joseph J. Crisco, 17th District, Representative Jonathan Steinberg, 136th District, Senator Joe Markley, 16th District, and the General Law Committee Chairman, Representative David A. Baram of the 15thDistrict.

AbleChild also would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the entire General Law Committee staff for their assistance in navigating the often, complicated legislative process.

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