Democrats Offer Bill to Safely Import Drugs From Canada to Cut Costs


A bill that would allow prescription drugs to be imported into the U.S. from Canada to lower drug costs was introduced Feb. 28 by Democratic lawmakers.

While drug importation isn’t a new idea, and legislation on this has been introduced before, this bill contains new safety provisions. For instance, it would require imported drugs to be purchased from a foreign seller certified by the Food and Drug Administration. It also wouldn’t allow the importation of controlled substances, anesthetic drugs inhaled during surgery or compounded drugs.

The goal of the legislation, introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), is to lower drug prices in the U.S. Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) introduced a companion bill in the House.

“Drug companies make enormous profits, their CEOs enjoy high compensation packages, but the American people can’t afford the prescriptions they need,” Sanders said in a press briefing. “Bottom line is the exact medicine made in the same exact factory is sold at substantially lower prices in Canada.”

But the drug industry is concerned importing drugs could harm patients. Nicole Longo, a spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) told me the bill “lacks sufficient safety controls” and “would exacerbate threats to public health from counterfeit, adulterated or diverted medicines.”

Read my full article here.

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