‘Reimportation’: A Prescription for Disaster

By May 3, 2007General

This morning the Senate is expected to debate the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reauthorization bill, S. 1082. As part of it, reliably liberal Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) is expected to offer an amendment that panders to the masses while exposing them to enormous health risks.

Dorgan’s amendment looks simple enough on its face. It will allow the personal and commercial importation of prescription drugs from foreign countries. Some of these medicines are made in the US, shipped to other countries and sold under those governmental price controls. For those who long for government-set prices on things (not just pharmaceuticals, either — energy’s another and your product ain’t far behind that) this is a fantastic idea.

However, the Dorgan bill misses the point that there are tons of medicines overseas that are totally unsafe, nor is there any mechanism for evaluating the safety of what is “reimported.” No matter, it’s a great political issue, polls well among the generally uninformed.

Here’s a link to a great piece that lays out 22 reasons why the Dorgan amendment is bad medicine. Reason #3 really says it all: “The Dorgan bill permits the importation and distribution of drugs that are not FDA-approved.” What more do you need to know? The other 21 reasons just pile on.

This bill is a panderers dream, and is a recipe for disaster. At the end of the day it will allow fraudulent, counterfeit and unsafe pharmaceuticals into the US for mass consumption. By any measure, this amendment is bad medicine for the American public.

UPDATE (4 p.m.): The NAM sent a “key vote” letter opposing the Dorgan-Vitter amendment on drug reimportationa to Senate offices this morning. A copy of the letter is available here.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Joe Dragon says:

    Absolutely Pat! I have an employee that just received a prescription for Amoxicillin. It cost him $60 as we don’t have insurance here. Are you telling me that other countries can’t produce same Amoxicillin? Shouldn’t he have been able to import that prescription? It’s nearly all about money Pat and has nearly nothing to do with safety.

  • Pat Cleary says:


    We oppose importation of ANYTHING that’s not safe, like counterfeit parts or non-FDA approved medical devices and medicines. Don’t you?

  • Joe Dragon says:

    Pat, this is a joke. Why is it that it’s Ok to import everything on earth from poisoned wheat gluten to auto parts to medical devices but the minute big pharma (and their pets NAM) see anything that might hurt the bottom line they throw a fit?

    Come on Pat, free trade for all. If the meds are properly tested why not import them? Once again it’s selective free trade for you and Pfizer.

    Please don’t feel sorry for your big drug contributors- I think they will survive this deal.