NABP: Regulation is needed to control re-selling of drugs on gray market

August 14, 2012

Federal legislation is needed to control pharmacies that are re-selling drugs on the gray market, according to Carmen Catizone, the executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Federal legislation is needed to control pharmacies that are re-selling drugs on the gray market, according to Carmen Catizone, the executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

Catizone’s stance comes as a response to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s recent report, “Shining Light on the Gray Market.”

For the report, House staff examined more than 300 pedigree documents for drugs in short supply and found out how some drugs are leaking on to the gray market. In a whopping 69% of the cases, prescription drugs leaked into the gray market through pharmacies. Certain pharmacies are re-selling the drugs to gray market wholesalers and then wholesalers are selling the drugs at significant markups to other gray market companies.

“We need to take some steps to remove pharmacies’ ability to act as wholesalers, in the way that they are. The end point of these transactions should be to patients and not to wholesalers,” Catizone said.

Some of the pharmacies that are selling drugs on the gray market are not necessarily doing anything illegal; rather it is a moral and ethical issue, according to Catizone. “There are provisions in state laws in which pharmacies can wholesale up to 5% of their product. The intent was that, if you have a situation where a pharmacy runs short on a product, they can buy it from another pharmacy or wholesaler for that patient. They are violating the intent of those laws, morally and ethically,” Catizone said.