Importation of Drugs
The American people should be able to import lower-cost prescription drugs from other countries to save money.
- Independent studies by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Task Force on Drug Importation and the U.S. Department of Commerce have concluded that importing prescription drugs from foreign countries poses safety risks to American consumers and does not result in overall net cost savings.
- According to the HHS study, consumer savings from importing prescription drugs would be negated by the cost of policing such practices to ensure consumer safety.
- Over many years, both Republican and Democratic Administrations have determined that it is not possible to certify the safety of imported drugs due to the inability to accurately trace the origins of foreign drugs, many of which are counterfeit and are sold through internet pharmacies that engage in highly questionable practices.
- The United States has a safe and effective closed drug supply system, which the Congress acted to enhance only a few years ago by creating a national and uniform “track and trace” system for domestically distributed drugs. Drug importation would undermine this system and create large “safety loopholes” in it.
- Four former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioners who served under both Democratic and Republican administrations recently wrote to Members of Congress expressing strong concerns about the importation of prescription drugs from foreign countries – noting that doing so would pose serious safety risks for U.S. patients.
- In 2011, the European Union, whose common market permits cross-border transfer of medicines, issued a “Falsified Medicine Directive.” The Directive noted, “There is an alarming increase of medicinal products detected in the Union which are falsified in relation to their identity, history or source. Those products usually contain sub-standard or falsified ingredients, or no ingredients or ingredients, including active substances, in the wrong dosage thus posing an important threat to public health.”
Additional Reading & Resources
- BIO; The Real Cost of Importation Infographic
- The Partnership for Safe Medicines; Report of the Potential Impact of Drug Importation Proposals on U.S. Law Enforcement
- Forbes; Drug Importation Will Not Improve Health Care Affordability
- Real Clear Health; Canada Cannot Be America's Drugstore
- Morning Consult; Applying Lessons of ‘Fake News’ to Online Pharmacies, Drug Importation Policies
- Wall Street Journal; How Other Countries Freeload on U.S. Drug Research
- Health & Human Services, Task Force on Drug Importation; Report on Prescription Drug Importation