[UPDATE: This statement has been updated to include all three pieces of pending legislation in Florida. March 5, 2019]

Washington, D.C. (March 5, 2019) – Shabbir Safdar, Executive Director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, released the following statement today in response to three separate proposals from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and and the state legislature that would legalize importation of medicine from Canada: HB 19 (Leek), SB 1452 (Gruters), SB 1528 (Bean).

“The U.S. is in the midst of one of its most harrowing public health emergencies – the opioid crisis, fueled in part by counterfeit drugs made with illicit fentanyl. By allowing drug importation, leaders in the state would make it easier for non-FDA-approved drugs and dangerous substances to enter the country. And Florida has already seen enough incidences and deaths related to counterfeit medicines.

“The proposals put forth claim that drug importation would result in savings, but we know that such programs would only lead to high maintenance costs – and we have examples to prove it. In both Minnesota and Illinois, programs to import drugs were shut down because the savings – or lack thereof – could not offset the cost of implementation.

“We all know that we need to find ways to help make drugs more affordable for patients, but drug importation is a step in the wrong direction. Florida is home to some of our most vulnerable patient populations and the health and safety of these individuals should not be risked by medicines from unknown resources with unknown ingredients.

“We urge leaders in Florida to reevaluate these proposals and think of the families that have already lost loved ones to medicines that they believed to be legitimate. Passing drug importation is akin to giving counterfeit criminals the stamp of approval.”

About the Partnership for Safe Medicines

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) is a public health group comprised of nearly 70 non-profit organizations that are committed to the safety of prescription drugs and protecting consumers against counterfeit, substandard or otherwise unsafe medicines. To learn more, visit www.safemedicines.org.

Contact:

Farheena Mustafa

farheena@safemedicines.org

(703) 477-4642

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