Opposing Drug Importation for Safety, Market Reasons

The National Association of Manufacturers last week sent a “Key Vote” letter to the Senate opposing an amendment sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND),

The letter is here. Excerpt:

The NAM strongly opposes the Dorgan amendment, which would permit the importation of prescription drugs outside the existing safety system established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 10 percent of medicines available globally are counterfeit. A November 2009 INTERPOL/WHO operation involving 24 countries found that 751 web sites were engaged in illegal activity, including offering controlled or prescription only drugs. We fear that drug importation would expose consumers to dangerous counterfeit or adulterated medications, undermining the quality and safety of prescription drugs.

We are also concerned with provisions in the amendment that would impose “forced sale” mandates on contracts between private companies and their customers/suppliers. In effect, it would bar pharmaceutical companies from deciding who they can sell their products to in specific countries, the quantity of the product that they will sell to a given buyer, the price terms of the sale, and the terms regarding export of the product, thereby abrogating their contract and patent rights.

Sen. Dorgan made the case for his amendment on the Senate floor yesterday afternoon.

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