Monthly Archives: July 2017

S.469 Affordable Prescription Drug Importation Act

20170605_Report on Counterfeit Drugs           

          “Drug importation proposals would worsen the opioid crisis – a crisis that

         has already grown substantially worse due to the powerful opioid fentanyl

         and fentanyl analogue-laced counterfeit pills being produced by illegal drug

         trafficking organizations, including in China, and reaching the United States

         through Canada and Mexico.”

“Report on the Potential Impact of Drug Importation Proposals on U.S. Law Enforcement” by Louis Freeh, et al.


S.469, Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) will amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 384) to allow for the importation of drugs by wholesale distributors, pharmacies and individuals.  S.469 opens importation first from Canada and within two years from any country that is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

However, critics of S.469, notably former FBI director Louis Freeh, have criticized the bill warning that it will exacerbate the problem of counterfeit opiods, specifically fentanyl, which is a great problem throughout the United States and Canada (see attached report).


Counterfeit Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a dangerous painkiller, is 20 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. The drugs are so toxic that investigators have to wear hazmat suits during seizures. In a report by The Partnership for Safe Medicines, U.S. authorities began reporting waves of overdoses and fatalities after residents took counterfeit Xanax or opioids that contained fentanyl or fentanyl analogues in 2015. The problem has spread to at least 31 states, and recently, authorities have been seeing pills containing carfentanil, an even more powerful drug used to sedate large animals. The problem is the drug is smuggled from Canada or Mexico across the border into the United States.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, hundreds of thousands of counterfeit prescription pills laced with a deadly synthetic opioid, usually fentanyl, have infiltrated the US drug market. The problem is expected to escalate.
The pills are pressed using pharmacy-grade machines to look like known prescription painkillers. An increasing number of Americans addicted to opioids are seeking out the legit painkillers illegally, and instead are buying the synthetic. They contain various amounts of fentanyl. The pills must often be tested by a lab to determine if they are counterfeit.



The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017

Most people are unaware but the Copyright Office is located in the Library of Congress and the Register of Copyright is appointed by Librarian of Congress, who approves all regulations issued by the Copyright Office and oversees the budget. This arrangement stems from the deposit arrangement that publishers have with the Copyright Office and allows the Library easy access to the books. This arrangement worked during the 19th Century but is out of step with the scope of the Copyright Office and the complexity of copyright law.

To remedy the situation, the House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R.1695 in April which will make the Register of Copyrights a Presidential appointee, confirmed by the Senate, and creating a panel of Congressional leaders who would recommend at least three qualified candidates for the President to choose from. The Senate issued a mirror bill days later, which is also expected to pass.

Check out the link below:

Victory Against Web Sites Offering Pirated Scholarly Papers

Elsevier, a large scientific American publisher, won a $15 million default judgement for copyright infringement against Sci-Hub and the Library of Genesis, two pirate websites that offer free downloads of tens of millions of scientific papers and books.

Alexandra Elbakyan, founder of Sci-Hub, did not appear at the trial which was in New York City. However, she sent a letter to the court stating her reasons for launching the website in 2011. While studying at a University in Kazakhstan she needed access to hundreds of scientific papers and could not afford to pay for them.

Sci-Hub connects to a database of stolen papers. If a user requests a paper in that database, Sci-Hub serves it up. If the paper is not there, Sci-Hub uses library passwords it has collected to find the paper, provides it to the searcher, and then adds it to the database.
To date, Elbakyan has made an estimated 50 million scholarly articles available on Sci-Hub. Many academics, university librarians and longtime advocates for open scholarly research are closely following her efforts. Both Sci-Hub and Library of Genesis are based in Russia.