Nearly 170 Organizations Urge Congress to Protect Patients from Hazards of Drug Importation

Coalition Calls on Congress to Maintain Safe Access to Medicines

For Immediate Release
February 28, 2017

Washington, D.C. – The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) today sent a letter signed by nearly 170 groups to all members of Congress urging them to continue protecting Americans and stand against efforts that would allow substandard and even dangerous counterfeit medicines to flow freely across U.S. borders and into the hands of the American people.

In the letter, the groups wrote:

“Whether offered broadly or for a narrow set of medications, there’s never a good time to sacrifice safety. No patient is served well by a drug from an unknown source, that has been stored under unknown conditions, and which contains unknown ingredients because it passed through unlicensed, foreign middlemen who operate beyond U.S. law. […]

“Proposals allowing importation would undermine nearly two decades of drug safety policy. Large volume importation of prescription drugs could be permitted under current law only if the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary was willing to certify that imported drugs ‘pose no additional risk to the public’s health and safety, and result in a significant reduction in the cost of covered products to the American consumer.

“Recent HHS Secretaries have not been willing to certify such large scale importation as of no significant risk to the public health or that any potential cost savings would outweigh the resources that would be required to ensure the safety and efficacy of any imported products.”

Importation opens the U.S. borders to counterfeit medicines from around the world and puts U.S. consumers at risk of receiving dangerous or even deadly prescription drugs. Moreover, importation is a threat to America’s national security as the counterfeit drug trade bankrolls criminal and other illicit activity, including organized crime and narcotics trafficking.

“The United States’ closed prescription drug market ensures that consumers receive safe, effective medicines. Allowing for the importation of medicines from other countries would undermine those protections and expose Americans to the very real dangers of counterfeit drugs,” said PSM President Marv Shepherd. “We urge Congress to focus on protecting the nation’s drug supply to maintain access to safe medicines for U.S. patients.”

To read the letter in full, please visit:  [UPDATE: New organizations that have signed the letter since it’s initial public release have been added to the letter.]

About PSM
The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) is a public health group comprised of 75 non-profit organizations that are committed to the safety of prescription drugs and protecting consumers against counterfeit, substandard or otherwise unsafe medicines.

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