Drug Importation and Its Dangerous Side Effects

Drug Importation and Its Dangerous Side Effects

Writing for the National Review, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute authors a stark warning about the dangers associated with importing drugs from Canada. As Pipes explains:

“[P]atients risk their lives every time they fill prescriptions through online pharmacies that claim to be based in Canada. The risk is even greater now that counterfeiters are lacing many pills with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. Last July, law enforcement in Alberta seized 130,000 counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl.”

This warning comes in the wake of a recent decision by a U.S. district court in Montana who imposed a $34 million fine on Canada Drugs — an online pharmacy charged with selling counterfeit medications to Americans who were simply unaware of the potential trouble ahead.

Policymakers in Washington are working hard to ensure individuals and families have access to affordable medicines, but allowing these treatments to be imported from abroad is an ill-advised solution that poses significant safety risks.

“Lawmakers in nine states have recently considered bills that would permit American patients or pharmacies to import huge quantities of drugs from Canada. Congressional Democrats, led by Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), are also pushing hard for importation. … If they succeed, the influx of counterfeit drugs could precipitate a public-health catastrophe. Widespread importation would also stifle research and development of legitimate new drugs.”

As BIO has pointed out before, while the Canadian government works to ensure the safety and authenticity of medicines entering their market that are intended for use by patients in Canada, they do not apply those standards for medicines intended for export only.

“Passing legislation to encourage drug importation would expose more Americans to harmful counterfeits,” Pipes continues. “Such laws would also discourage pharmaceutical research and development.”

Read the full op-ed here.

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