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.
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