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CFIF Opposes Any Proposal to Introduce Drug Importation to the U.S. from Foreign Nations

FAIRFAX, VA – As Congress considers the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements (FDASLA) Act, some are pushing dangerous proposals to introduce drug importation to the United States from foreign countries. Such drug importation proposals pose a threat to American consumers and constitute a perilous assault against America’s world-leading pharmaceutical innovators and intellectual property protections. Accordingly, Center for Individual Freedom President Jeffrey Mazzella issued the following statement:

“Currently, Americans enjoy the safest market for medicines in the entire world under the reliable system overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In contrast, according to FDA estimates, over 99% of drugs entering the U.S. via international mail failed to comply with its standards. Additionally, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that fully 10% of all medicines worldwide (which could find their way into the U.S. via importation) are counterfeit. That poses an unacceptable threat to consumers.


“Although we live in an era of hyper-partisanship, it’s also important to emphasize how a bipartisan array of experts and officials have long panned the drug importation idea. For instance, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb lambasted drug importation proposals and detailed the numerous threats that importation entails. A collection of fellow FDA Commissioners spanning the years 2002 through 2016 felt so strongly that they collectively wrote an open letter to Congress in 2017, explaining how drug importation, ‘could lead to a host of unintended consequences and undesirable effects, including serious harm stemming from the use of adulterated, substandard or counterfeit drugs.’


“Safety concerns, however, aren’t the only problem with drug importation proposals. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), studied the issue and concluded that drug importation would have little to no impact on actually lowering prices. On that issue, former FDA Commissioner Gottlieb concurred that the plan ‘would have added so much cost to the imported drugs; they wouldn’t be much cheaper than drugs sold inside our closed American system.’ Part of the problem, according to a Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) statement, is that Canada’s market couldn’t handle the sudden onslaught of American demand, and importation would crash their market on which the U.S. drug importation plan would rely.


“Additionally, as we at CFIF have long emphasized, importing other nations’ pharmaceutical policies and pricing would reduce drug innovation and availability to American consumers. Even highly developed nations enjoy far fewer new life-saving pharmaceuticals than the U.S., which should alarm every American.


“Accordingly, drug importation would undermine America’s world-leading pharmaceutical innovation and violate free market principles, in addition to the fact that imported drugs meet neither safety nor dependability standards. CFIF therefore opposes any attempt to introduce drug importation to the U.S., and urges Congress to reject them.”

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CFIF is a constitutional and free market advocacy organization with over 300,000 supporters and activists nationwide.

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