As states continue down a path to address rising health care costs, not all solutions for consideration have proven track records and the public should know that pharmaceutical drug importation is not only unproven, its legality is very unclear. To elected leaders, drug importation is a seemingly simple solution, but it comes without a full understanding of the value of innovation led by pharmaceutical manufacturers in America and the required federal role in this proposal. To date, no Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been willing to make a certification to permit drug importation. Why? Ultimately, the federal government is responsible for safeguarding Americans access to quality, safe prescription drugs
Canada does not have the same standards or long-established systems in place to protect patients to the same level we do here in the United States. The U.S. FDA recently issued a warning to one online operation for selling “unapproved, misbranded and unsafe imported drugs to unsuspecting Americans.” Counterfeiting is an issue that cannot be ignored. As Colorado continues the process to seek authorization to import Canadian prescription drugs, it undercuts health safety at the most basic levels. Colorado’s SB 5, like other state-led proposals, is a false promise to lower drug prices.
Manufacturers realize that rising health care costs are disruptive to families and businesses, and support efforts to increase access to affordable medicine. However, it cannot be at the expense of safety, quality or hard-fought intellectual property protections. The National Association of Manufacturers has and continues to oppose the importation of prescription drugs to ensure the protection of patients from lesser quality or counterfeit drugs.
Robyn Boerstling is the Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.