With talks about drug importation continuing in Congress, drug importation supporters argue that if the United States allows importation only from “safe countries,” such as Canada and the United Kingdom, than most of drug safety concerns would be eliminated. However, when it comes to drug importation, there is no such thing as a “safe” country.

Marv D. Shepherd, PhDShepherd (sm)

With talks about drug importation continuing in Congress, drug importation supporters argue that if the United States allows importation only from “safe countries,” such as Canada and the United Kingdom, then most of drug safety concerns would be eliminated.  However, when it comes to drug importation, there is no such thing as a “safe” country.

Earlier this month, nine people were arrested in Montreal in connection with a counterfeit drug ring distributing fake cancer and lifestyle drugs to unsuspecting Canadian citizens in stores, on the street, and over the Internet.  According to Health Canada, these counterfeit drugs contained irregular dosages, additives and other drugs and could prove dangerous to consumers.

As my colleague Tom Kubic said last month, drug importation supporters have a faulty assumption that countries like Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the 27 members of the European Union do not have issues with counterfeit drugs and are insulated from this global threat.

We need to be mindful of the risks to consumers that come with opening our drug supply chain to drug importation.  While there is a real need to make prescription drugs more affordable, drug importation is not the solution.  For more information on the threat of counterfeit drugs and dangers of drug importation plans, visit www.safemedicines.org.