North Country representative Owens proposes legislation to bring more transparency to prescription drugs
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 9:45 am

Congressman Bill Owens recently introduced legislation to improve prescription drug information given to patients and families.

Rep. Owens introduced the bill known as "Cody Miller Initiative for Safer Prescriptions Act," which would ensure patients receive consistent and accurate information about their prescription medications and are aware of the potential risks and benefits of those drugs when they pick them up at a pharmacy.

“Having better information available when you go to pick up your prescriptions will go a long way towards helping protect children, seniors and others from harm,” Owens said. “This is a common-sense approach to protecting consumers, and I will continue to pursue this initiative in the months ahead.”

The legislation is named for Queensbury teenager Cody Miller who, on Aug. 4, 2007, committed suicide after switching prescription allergy medications. Cody’s mother weighed in on the legislation.

“Many consumers do not understand that without this being done, they will receive watered down information that may or may not be completely current and accurate,” said Kate Miller, who lost her son Cody.

“It is a no brainer, we must look at this as just another consumer safety issue, one that has been sorely overlooked and can be corrected with these changes this bill proposes,” Miller said. “My child and many other consumers that have fallen between these crevices would have benefited as a direct result from this bill, had it been in place for them.”

The bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue regulations on the content, format and distribution of drug-related information in consumer-friendly language.

Owens said this includes issues related to labeling of risks and side effects as well as storage recommendations and advice on when to seek professional help related to the drug. This information would be updated and uniform regardless of the store or service from which the prescriptions were received.

Senator Gillibrand is the sponsor of companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.