Yesterday, the New York Times published a letter to the editor from BIO’s President and CEO, Jim Greenwood. In the letter, Greenwood addresses drug importation concerns which were overlooked in a previously published NYT op-ed – concerns which are shared by many others, including former FDA Commissioners from both Democrat and Republican Administrations.
The full letter can be viewed on nytimes.com or read below:
To the Editor:
Re “How to Stop Drug Price Gouging” (Op-Ed, April 20)
Tim Wu’s call to open the American market to foreign drug supplies is cavalier in its dismissal of the safety risks of his proposal, and wildly optimistic about the potential savings such a move would create.
A bipartisan group of four former commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration wrote to Congress recently expressing concern over the idea. Such a move, they wrote, “is likely to harm patients and consumers and compromise the carefully constructed system that guards the safety of our nation’s medical products.”
How about the purported savings? A Department of Health and Human Services task force on importation found that “total savings to drug buyers from legalized commercial importation would be 1 to 2 percent of total drug spending and much less than international price comparisons might suggest.” The task force wrote, “The savings going directly to individuals would be less than 1 percent of total spending.”
There is no silver bullet for rising health costs. But exposing American patients to potentially counterfeit, unapproved or adulterated drugs — for what would probably be scant savings — is not the answer.