Foreign medicine a problem

Pat Plowman, R. N. Boyd
Thursday, March 12, 2020

Several friends were talking about COOL today, CountryOfOriginLabel, and it reminded me of the invasion of foreign medications. China is the biggest (obvious!) threat, but any imported drugs can fly under the radar of our safety standards. Add to that the unfair competition which often drives our own labs out of business, and you can see why taxpayer payments for Canadian drugs are a problem.

Montanans are paying too much for their medication, and it’s a major issue. However, foreign drug importation is not the right direction to achieve lower drug costs. While it is safer and cheaper for a few Montanans to drive to Canada for their prescription drugs, legalizing importation for the entire country—or even just for the state—would be pose an immediate threat to public health.

It’s been proven that importing foreign medication would increase the risk for counterfeit and contaminated medication. In fact, Montana has already seen the effects of importing drugs from Canada, and it wasn’t good! Canadian online drug pharmacies were fined $34 million for selling us counterfeit cancer medication and other unapproved pharmaceuticals.

The issue is that many of the “Canadian pharmacies” that we would be purchasing medication from receive their shipments from countries like Pakistan, India, and Turkey. Because of this, Canada cannot guarantee the same quality and purity standards for their medication like the United States can.

Importing foreign medication from countries like Canada will also make law enforcement jobs even more difficult. After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its proposal to amend regulations in order to allow the importation of certain prescription drugs from Canada, the National Sheriffs’ Association released a statement about the challenges such a policy would have on law enforcement, as they’d be responsible for preventing the infiltration of counterfeit and tampered medications into the drug supply chain.

Instead of supporting initiatives that will endanger the public, I am asking Senators Daines and Tester to consider more marketbased approaches to achieve lower drug costs.

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