The Utah State Legislature is considering a flawed and unproven drug proposal that would authorize the state to apply for federal approval to import prescription drugs from Canada. Utah is the latest state to consider such a bill, which is really a price control plan in disguise—offering no guarantees of safety or the quality of the imported medicines. Canada does not have the same standards or long-established mechanism in place to protect patients as we do here in the United States. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has never certified nor authorized the importation of drugs from Canada. At this point in time, it has never been declared safe for American consumers and patients.
With House Bill 267, the Prescription Drug Importation Program, moving through the committee process, the false promises of the bill should not be ignored, and manufacturers cannot stand by HB 267. Consumer safety should be a paramount public policy concern, and manufacturers urge the Utah legislature to take this proposal off the table. Importation and re-importation could expose consumers to counterfeit and adulterated therapies because Canada does not make product safety guarantees to the U.S.
Manufacturers understand the need for competition, affordable medicines and a healthy workforce. However, Utah’s drug importation proposal, if it passes the legislature and if it’s signed by the governor, and if the program is eventually approved by HHS, a needless risk to public health would be presented. It is imperative to maintain important strides in consumer protection and safeguard the reputation of quality drugs approved by the FDA for marketing the United States. The National Association of Manufacturers has long opposed the importation of prescription drugs, and we will continue advocating for patient safety to remain the driving factor determining prescription drug laws. Lives depend on the protections we have built here as nation—not state by state.
Robyn Boerstling is the Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.
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