The Morning Consult recently published an op-ed by Libby Baney, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global), a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the growing public health threat of illegal online pharmacies. In the piece, Ms. Baney stated that drug importation proposals are not a safe or effective way to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. She warns that the size of the problem was underestimated on two fronts.
First, the sheer number of illegal online pharmacies makes finding legitimate ones difficult. There are over 34,000 active illegal online pharmacies, and that number goes up by 600 with every passing month. The second issue with allowing drug importation has to do with shipping. Any attempts made to thoroughly screen every package being shipped into the U.S. on a daily basis to keep counterfeit and substandard drugs out of the country would only create a logistical nightmare. The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) has neither the oversight into online pharmacies’ supply chains nor the jurisdiction to enforce violations of applicable U.S. law. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and officials in Canada have already said that they would be unable to certify that all the drugs were safe and effective.
Ms. Baney believes that allowing drug importation will lead to only one conclusion: more counterfeit drugs flooding coming in and an increase in the devastation caused by the opioid crisis to communities across the country.