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April 03, 2007

“Prescription drug importation may be nearer”

By: Larry Lipman Washington Bureau March 18, 2007

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/nation/03/18/18drugimports.html

Summary:

This article emphasizes the support of Pharmaceutical Market Access Act by Democrats. Many major democratic players brought this legislative bill last year but was rejected. Particulary, Senator Byron Dorgan is most optimistic about the bill. “Dorgan's bill would allow drugs manufactured in the United States and sold to Canada and other Western industrialized nations to be reimported into the United States as long as the Food and Drug Administration approved the "chain of custody."” Dorgan said the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the bill would save consumers about $50 billion over the next 10 years and that the federal government would save about $6.1 billion. A potential veto by President Bush was mentioned, if the bill is not demonstrated to include safety measure of the imported drugs. Another supporter, Sen. Jim DeMint, stated the FDA’s role in the safety inspection of imported drugs is just an expansion of their responsibilities because the FDA already inspects imported food and such. A former congressman and current pharmaceutical company employee, Billy Tauzin, brought up European importation and trade has seen increase in counterfeit drugs and this should be a concern before any bill is approved.


Implication to pharmacy:

This article brings all points of arguments to the drug importation issue. Although prescription drug costs are a large concern, safety and general public health is an issue that should be addressed before American start taking harmful drugs that were meant to be beneficial. As future pharmacists, this does not have a clear impact on our profession. However, whatever outcomes from this long debate, will definitely affect how pharmacists are viewed, as drug information specialists and patient care personnel. Pharmacists will be the primary defense in counterfeit drug identification and drug safety in importation of the drugs. Moreover, the best drug therapy regimens may be a better healthcare expenditure to keep overall costs down. Pharmacists in are in the front lines to help determine the best regimens to be most effective.

Posted by aluong at April 3, 2007 11:48 PM

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