Governor Paul LePage is calling on the leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives to drop language in a bill that could put 600 jobs in northern Maine at risk.

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The legislation, H.R. 1919, includes a provision that would mandate electronic labeling for pharmaceutical drugs.  This means that information on dosage, side effects and patient warnings would only be available online and would not be printed on paper with the drugs themselves.

Twin Rivers Paper Mill is the leading producer of uncoated printing papers used as pharmaceutical inserts in North America – a product the legislation would eliminate by moving all information to the internet. The mill has operations in Madawaska and Edmundston, employing 1,200 people in Maine and New Brunswick.

“Twin Rivers is an economic driver in the region, spending more than $350 million every year on supplies, raw materials and on salaries for the people who work there,” said Gov. LePage. “I urge Congress to reject this bill, not just because of the impact on Maine jobs, but because this bill is irresponsible. Senior citizens are the largest users of pharmaceutical medications and they are also the least likely to have easy access to information on the internet.”

The House bill is schedule for a vote Monday evening, while the Senate legislation is still pending and does not include the mandate for electronic labeling.