A proposed law would give the FDA more power to monitor the sources of drug componentsA new law proposed by Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado would increase the Federal Drug Administration's power over pharmaceutical manufacturers - but the bill's effectiveness could be undermined by the complexity of the drug supply chain.

The Drug Safety and Accountability Act of 2010, introduced earlier this month, would allow the FDA to issue recalls on drugs that it determines are dangerous or harmful. Currently, the FDA can only issue a warning concerning a drug's safety and recommend that the manufacturer issue a recall.

The bill would also permit the FDA to track increasingly intricate pharmaceutical supply chains and keep tabs on different drug component suppliers.

Complicated pharmaceutical supply chains mean that harmful or counterfeit ingredients can sometimes find their way into prescription drugs. For example, contaminated Heparin used as an anticoagulant slipped through the FDA review processes and killed 100 people in 2007 and 2008. Last year, there were a record 1,742 drug recalls - a 400 percent increase from 2008.

Bennet also states that up to 80 percent of the active components of U.S. medications are manufactured outside of the United States, where they may not meet American safety standards.

According to the Pew Prescription Project, nine out of 10 people would prefer that the FDA have greater power to recall potentially unsafe medication.
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