Healthcare Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Reject Drug Importation Legislation

Healthcare Leadership Council Says Opening U.S. Borders Will Endanger Public Health While Delivering Little to No Economic Benefits

WASHINGTON – A coalition of leaders from all sectors of American healthcare has called upon Congress to reject legislative efforts to allow the importation of pharmaceuticals into the United States, arguing that it would “undermine nearly two decades of drug safety policy and place American patients and consumers at unnecessary risk.”

In a letter to Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the chairman and ranking member respectively of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) president Mary R. Grealy wrote that there are more promising avenues to affect healthcare prices without exposing Americans to the dangers presented by the growing global counterfeit drug crisis.

She wrote, “It may seem like a benign step to allow drugs from Canada to flow into the United States, but because we cannot oversee the sourcing of drugs attained by Canadian pharmacies, importation legislation would make it more difficult for the FDA and law enforcement agencies to protect consumer health.”

Ms. Grealy also told the senators that anticipated savings from imported drugs are largely illusory, noting that the nation’s healthcare distribution companies have said costs for storage, inspections, relabeling, repackaging and liability insurance would significantly wipe out cost differences.

She said there are a variety of public policy options that could affect healthcare affordability without the risks inherent in drug importation legislation, including “FDA reforms to bring generic medications to the market at a faster pace, modernization of federal fraud and abuse laws to enable pro-patient, value-focused collaboration between payers, providers, and manufacturers, and removing barriers that block the sharing of economic and efficacy data between health insurers and biopharmaceutical companies.”

In her letter, Ms. Grealy also wrote that importing the arbitrary drug price controls applied by other nations will undermine the research and development of new cures and treatments for life-threatening illnesses.