FDA: Reimporting Drugs From Canada Is A Bad Idea
The Food and Drug Administration cast doubt on some Democratic senators’ efforts to allow reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries, saying it would be “logistically challenging” to guarantee the safety of the medicines.
In a letter to Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg also said overseeing importation would be “resource intensive.” The letter was a response to a request by Sen. Brownback, who in the past has opposed reimportation of drugs.
Dr. Hamburg commended some aspects of the amendment to the broad health-overhaul bill in the Senate submitted by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D., N.D.). The amendment includes several protective measures regarding imported drugs.
However, Dr. Hamburg wrote, it still cannot overcome such issues as the lack of FDA jurisdiction over foreign supply chains. “In addition, there are significant safety concerns related to allowing the reimportation of non-bioequivalent products,” she wrote. She also cited potential “confusion” in labeling and distribution.
Dr. Hamburg said the Obama administration supports a program to allow Americans to buy drugs from other countries, and noted that the budget includes $5 million to study it and develop options.
Mr. Dorgan, speaking on the Senate floor, called the FDA letter “completely bogus” and said he would address its points Wednesday. In his remarks, he advocated reimportation along the lines of Europe’s “parallel trading” system, which he said “works well.”
“Are people saying they [Europeans] are capable enough, but we aren’t?” he said.
If implemented, this will probably be hailed as A Great Step Forward, and people will be reminded ad infinitum that you’re getting these cheaper drugs Courtesy Of The Democratic Party… until someone is injured because of the safety concerns Dr. Hamburg mentions, then it will turn into a complete disaster for the Democrats.