Blame Canada! Where Will Drug Importation Lead?

J0400813_3 According to media reports, the Senate voted in favor of a policy that is in direct conflict with FDA policy – to allow the importation of drugs through Canada.  It was latched onto a Homeland Security bill that was before Congress.

Are seniors about to import drugs prescribed by terrorists?  That is apparently and reportedly what some of said.

"If I were a creative terrorist, I would say to myself, ‘Hey, listen, all I’ve got to do is produce a can here that says ‘Lipitor’ on it, make it look like the original Lipitor bottle, which isn’t too hard to do, fill it with anthrax," Gregg said.  Quoted from the referenced article of Senator Judd Gregg (R- NH). 

But other Republicans disagreed.  "We should demand that (Customs and Border Protection) focus on the true priority that we face on the war on terror," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., of efforts to secure U.S. borders. "Stripping small amounts of prescription drugs from the hands of seniors …. that should not be a priority."   (Also quoted from the article.)

Also according to the article, this kind of effort has been stripped from such bills in the past.

But at issue is whether the drugs that are imported are safe.  As noted here, Canadian companies have begun DTC directed to consumers to order their drugs from Canadian pharmacies.  At issue is one of safety versus pricing.  Apparently there are those in Congress who believe that safety is assured.  There are those, including the FDA who assure that it cannot be assured.

But until there are adverse events associated with imported drugs, it would seem that public sentiment would sway towards importation.  As the election season approaches, those adverse events had better be counted, or in the next election cycle, this kind of measure may not be stripped from future bills. 

The bold and simple truth is that pricing is coming against the election. 

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