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Engel Authored Health Bill to Protect Americans Passes Committee

Engel Authored Health Bill to Protect Americans Passes Committee

Legislation will help stop counterfeit COVID-19 Medical Devices

Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), a top Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, commended the Energy & Commerce Committee’s passage today of the Safeguarding Therapeutics Act, H.R. 5663, a bipartisan bill he co-authored with Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02). This legislation would enable the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to destroy fake medical devices imported from abroad that endanger public health, including fake coronavirus tests and surgical masks. 

“With COVID-19 still raging across the country, the possibility for counterfeit medical devices and equipment being sold to the public remains very high,” said Engel. “I’ve heard from constituents about bad actors that have sought to profit off their anxieties by peddling fake coronavirus treatments, tests, and therapies. It’s shameful and needs to stop. This overdue legislation will provide federal health officials with additional tools to protect Americans from those seeking to make a quick buck during this public health emergency. I thank Chairman Pallone for helping us advance this legislation and I look forward to its passage on the House floor.”

Throughout this public health crisis, the FDA has issued warning letters to organizations and individuals selling fake coronavirus tests, including antibody tests. As recently as June, the agency had sent notifications to organizations demanding that they withdraw their fake coronavirus tests from the U.S. market. Similarly, the FDA in May banned 65 Chinese manufacturers of N95-style face masks after testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that they did not meet the standards they purported to be at. 

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, Congressman Engel has led efforts to secure the U.S. medical supply chain. Following the FDA’s announcement of the first coronavirus-related drug shortage on February 27, 2020, he introduced the bipartisan Preventing Drug Shortages Act, which built on the recommendations from the FDA Drug Shortages Task Force. 

Several provisions similar to those Preventing Drug Shortages Act were included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act or the Phase 3 stimulus. Specifically, these provisions gave federal health officials new tools to address vulnerabilities in the pharmaceutical supply chain to prevent drug shortages and create new reporting requirements to help officials better identity sources that could lead to drug shortages.