Statement on Trump Administration Executive Order on Drug Importation

Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2020) – Shabbir Safdar, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order signed today on the importation of prescription drugs:


“As we approach the grim milestone of 150,000 American fatalities due to the worst pandemic in over 100 years, the Trump administration has chosen to focus its attention on a flawed and dangerous drug importation scheme that could put more of us in harm’s way. Drug importation is a bad idea in the best of times. Right now, it is the worst possible idea at the worst possible time.


“Mass importing prescription drugs is harmful to our physical health and our uncertain economic situation. In dollars and cents, drug importation makes zero sense. Florida has spent $10 million to get its own version of a drug importation plan up and running and data shows that the economic savings will never offset the costs. In effect, the Trump administration is encouraging wasteful spending by states when Governors and state legislatures are staring down the inevitability of drastic budget cuts to essential services – all because of a devastating global pandemic. It’s the worst possible time to be playing a political game.


“More striking is that drug importation schemes threaten the safety of Americans. Simply put, Canada does not have the drug supply to satisfy the U.S. market. To smugglers and criminals, that presents an opportunity. Bad actors step into the void when there are drug shortages or inadequate monitoring of supply chains. During COVID-19, they even preyed on our fears to sell fake treatments and equipment. The Trump Administration is handing criminals a lucrative business opportunity.


“The Partnership for Safe Medicines is not alone in its condemnation of this proposed policy. Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration CommissionersCanadian officialspatient advocates, law enforcement and many others have all unequivocally denounced drug importation as the wrong way to bring down prescription drug costs. Both the timing and substance of today’s announcement makes absolutely no sense.”