In a recent development, the idea of drug importation has got an opposition as four US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) former commissioners warned Congress in proceeding with the legalization. The commissioners feel that it is a risky process as there are chances the consumers may expose to fake, contaminated, and substandard drugs.
In an open letter, the commissioners requested the members of Congress to be aware of the threats of drug importation. It was signed by two FDA heads during Obama administration – Margaret Hamburg and Robert Califf – and two from George W. Bush administration – Mark McClellan and Andrew Von Eschenbach. The letter points out that the legislation can harm the carefully constructed system which protects the medical products of the country, would be compromised.
It was last month, Bernie Sanders and many other Democrats presented the bill for legislation that allows import of drugs from licensed sellers in Canada, and later from Europe, noting it can bring down the price of drugs in the country. “The global experience shows that adulterated, ineffective and illicit medicines are available in the open market, and it can become the focal point of organized crime,” the letter stated. Califf in an interview on Friday further warned that most of the Canadian claiming drugs are actually made in South America, Russia or Eastern Europe. It creates a situation that consumers are not sure whether they are getting the right product nor the country of origin.
Interestingly, the supporters of importation of drugs say that many of the concerns are exaggerated by the drugs industry. They say that the import is only granted for the FDA-certified sellers and the agency would have the option to check the manufacturing facilities of those sellers. Gabriel Levitt, the president of PharmacyChecker.com, confirms that already imported internet medicine for personal use is in place, and it can only be availed by valid prescriptions. He also noted a recent study which found almost 19 million U.S. citizens purchase imported drugs through the internet.
Even Sanders justified his move by stating when the government ensures the safety of the food imported, it can also do the same in the case of drugs. “There is no argument on the quality of drugs, any medicine that crosses the border should be 100 percent safe, and we can do that. We won’t tolerate any rogue outfits,” Sanders said in a recent statement. Though President Trump was endorsing the import during his campaign, he did not pursue it after taking the oath.