SOCMA Supports Extension of CFATS

July 16, 2009
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) this week stated its support to the US Senate for approving legislation that would extend existing chemical security standards for one more year.

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) this week told the US Senate that it supports legislation that would extend existing chemical security standards for one year. SOCMA is the US-based trade association representing custom and batch manufacturers, including contract manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients and pharmaceutical intermediates.

The Senate voted 84–6 on July 9 to include a provision in the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill that extends the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), which are set to expire in three months.

“As we have argued for the past several months, Congress needs to address the October 2009 CFATS deadline expeditiously,” said Bill Allmond, vice-president of government relations and ChemStewards at SOCMA, in an association press release. “Because the House appears, so far, to be more interested in passing controversial amendments like inherently safer technology (IST) to the existing regulations rather than make the rules permanent, this extension is the most responsible action.”

IST is a conceptual framework that covers chemical processing procedures, equipment, protection, and the use of safer substances when feasible. Although SOCMA supports the concept of IST, it has opposed the inclusion of an IST mandate in chemical site-security provisions, which is a matter being debated in proposed legislation. IST was considered as part of the CFATS, and a requirement for high-risk facilities to reduce their risk using IST has been considered.

The extension will give Congress the time necessary to carefully consider provisions such as IST and citizen suits that are preferred by the House, Allmond said. SOCMA opposes these provisions and urges the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will consider legislation later this month, to take the Senate’s lead and pass a bill extending CFATS for one year.

At a Chemical Sector Security Summit organized by the US Department of Homeland Security and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council late last month, a senior staffer of  Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, stated that reauthorization of CFATS was unlikely this year, according to a SOCMA press release.

See related stories:

IST Measures Raise Concern for the Pharma Supply Chain (Sourcing and Management newsletter)

SOCMA Comments on Congressional Activity on IST (ePT newsletter )

Congressional Committee Passes IST Measure (ePT newsletter)