ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) Vice President of Government Relations Tom Kraus, J.D., today issued the following statement regarding the Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule on drug importation.
“We need a bipartisan solution to bring down drug prices for American patients. Importation is not that solution.
While the concept of pharmaceutical importation may seem as simple as a U.S. manufacturer making and shipping drugs to Canada, for example, and Americans purchasing them to be sent back to the U.S., the reality is more complicated. Importation potentially short-circuits the safety requirements that protect the American drug supply and is unlikely to result in significant cost savings for patients.
The size of the Canadian pharmaceutical market is only a small fraction of the U.S. market. It is unrealistic to believe Canada will be a significant source of low-cost drugs.
One of our main concerns with the safety of importation is potentially bypassing safety requirements intended to protect against contaminated or counterfeit medications. A 2016 survey by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy found that 96 percent of pharmacies claiming to sell Canadian drugs are fake, meaning that the drugs they sell do not enter the legitimate Canadian supply chain. We should not accept these risks, particularly when this approach is unlikely to yield meaningful cost savings for patients.”
ASHP believes that Congress and the administration should be focusing on bipartisan proposals that:
- Increase the availability of low-cost generic medications.
- End the perverse system of rebates from drug makers to health insurers that keep drug prices high at the expense of patients.
- Prohibit drug makers from paying to keep generic competitors off the market.
ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s nearly 50,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For more than 75 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website, www.ashp.org, or its consumer website, www.SafeMedication.com.