New Poll: Majorities of Pharmacists and Law Enforcement Say Drug Importation Proposals Will Increase Counterfeits, Erode Safety, and Spur Drug Abuse

More than half of law enforcement officials surveyed believe drug importation would increase the flow of counterfeit medications into the United States.
Six in ten pharmacists believe drug importation would increase rates of drug abuse across the country.

For Immediate Release
March 30, 2017

Washington, D.C. – A new national poll of pharmacists and law enforcement officials demonstrates the growing number of experts opposed to proposals allowing widespread importation of prescription drugs from other countries. Above all, they cite the many harmful consequences such proposals would pose to U.S. consumers.

“Law enforcement and pharmacists are on the front lines of ensuring that patients in the United States receive safe, effective medicines, and are protected from counterfeits and other risky drugs. The latest poll of these key stakeholders affirms concerns regarding the importation of drugs from overseas that will open the floodgates to counterfeit medications that could be ineffective, dangerous, and even deadly,” said Marvin Shepherd, President, Board of Directors of Partnership for Safe Medicines.

The poll, conducted by Morning Consult from February 27th to March 3rd, 2017, surveyed 300 pharmacists and 300 law enforcement officials from across the country. Key findings for pharmacists:

  • More than six in ten (63 percent) pharmacists oppose allowing individuals, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import drugs from other countries.
  • Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of pharmacists say allowing drug importation would increase the flow of counterfeit medications into the United States and 71 percent say it would make it harder to identify those illicit drugs or counterfeits.
  • A strong majority (61 percent) of pharmacists believe drug importation would lead to far greater rates of prescription drug abuse.
  • The majority of pharmacists surveyed believe importation would erode safety and quality measures in place (56 percent) and increase the use of illegal drugs (58 percent).

Law enforcement officers also raised significant concerns with importation proposals:

  • Law enforcement officers place a high value on the role of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with 61 percent recognizing the United States as the “gold standard” when it comes to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of drugs.
  • The majority of law enforcement officers surveyed believe drug importation will increase the flow of counterfeit drugs into the United States (53 percent) and make it far more challenging to identify fake drugs (54 percent).
  • Most law enforcement officers believe importation would lead to increased prescription drug abuse (56 percent), as well as increased illegal drug use (54 percent).

“More than six in ten (61 percent) of pharmacists said allowing drug importation would make it harder to do their jobs. Couple that with the deep concerns among those in law enforcement and the message is clear: Importing drugs is dangerous and U.S. consumers will be put at risk. Congress must oppose attempts to open our secure supply chain to criminals by legalizing prescription drug importation,” said Shepherd.

Polling results and insights.

Survey of 300 Pharmacists Show Risk of Fake Drug Dangers to Patients

Survey of 300 Law Enforcement Officials Show Risk of Increased Prescription Drug Abuse

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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.