The bill was signed into law by President Obama Oct. 5, 2012.
The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, was prompted by an 81% increase in the number of armed robberies of pharmacies in the U.S. from 2006 to 2010. During that period, robberies jumped from 380 to 686.
"The Safe Doses Act will help cops put a lid on the prescription drug epidemic that is spilling across New York State and the entire country, and will also ensure that powerful prescriptions, like OxyContin and hydrocodone, make it from the factory to the patient, and nowhere else," Schumer said in a news release. "Pharmacy robberies have put our communities in danger and have turned deadly in the last year - and today the federal government can respond by providing our heroes in blue the tools to fight back."
Includes All Medical Products
The law targets not only thefts of prescription drugs but all medical products. The law increases penalties for obtaining medical supplies through fraud, as well as for transporting, trafficking or storing them. It also increases penalties for altering or falsifying documents related to stolen or expired medical supplies.
The new law also holds violators responsible for deaths due to stolen medicines.
According to Schumer, the new law "will increase the federal authorities' ability to crack down on interstate drug rings by combating theft along every point of the supply chain, from the warehouse to the delivery truck to the pharmacy."