SOCMA Comments on Congressional Activity on IST

Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA) said last week that Congress is likely to the include inherently safe technology (IST) measures in proposed chemical site-security legislation that is likely to be introduced in late winter or early spring.

The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA) said last week that Congress is likely to include inherently safe technology (IST) measures in proposed chemical site-security legislation. The legislation is likely to be introduced in late winter or early spring. SOCMA is the US-based trade association of custom and batch manufacturers, which includes contract manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates.

IST is a conceptual framework that covers chemical processing procedures, equipment, protection, and when feasible, the use of safer substances. Although SOCMA supports the concept of IST, it has opposed the inclusion of an IST mandate in chemical site-security provisions, which was a matter considered in proposed legislation in the last Congress in 2008. IST was considered as part of chemical facility anti-terrorism standards (CFATS). A requirement for high-risk facilities to reduce their risk by IST was an issue under consideration. 

SOCMA reports that in late February, I. Lanier Avant, the majority staff director of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said that a bill to reauthorize the CFATS that includes IST provisions would likely be introduced in late winter to early spring. His remarks were made at a public forum discussing Congress’s homeland security priorities that was hosted by the George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI), which featured staffers from both the Democrat and Republican parties on the House Homeland Security Committee, according to a SOCMA press release.

“Consensus among the committee staffers seems to be that CFATS is doing a ‘good job,’ according to their assessments, and they highlighted the program as a model for private-public partnership,” said SOCMA in press release. “This brief show of bipartisanship among staffers, however, could be tested over IST, which was a downfall last year of H.R. 5577, the 'Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008,'” said SOCMA.

See related stories:

Congressional Committee Passes IST Measure

IST Measures Raise Concern for the Pharma Supply Chain

SOCMA Adopts IST Policy