Rodriguez RF. Drug Importation and the Hispanic Physician. California Western Intl Law J. 2005;36:117-124.
Personal and commercial importation is a topic that has beenframed in the context of consumers versus industry. Yet it is the physician and other providers who must be part of the system of care with a stake in ensuring their patients obtain medicines that promote health. Both personal and commercial importation has significant risks. Investigations, conducted both in the United States and abroad, determined personal importation creates risks associated with counterfeit medications. Commercial importation creates even greater risks on the level of social disparities. The poor and vulnerable, including Hispanic patients who are disproportionately represented in this population, would be subject to these cheaper and “somewhat-regulated” drugs, while wealthier, privately insured patients would have access to fully-regulated domestic supplies. Because the poor cannot afford to purchase drugs at market prices, they will be left with only one choice: drugs provided to them from questionable sources. As such, importation will be paid for by those least able to shoulder the costs: vulnerable minorities who have no choice but to take the risk of imported drugs.