Drug Importation in New Hampshire: An Overview

map of New Hampshire with a bottle of poisonous Canadian pills

Synopsis:

In January 2020, the New Hampshire legislature introduced SB685, which would require the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to design a wholesale importation program for prescription drugs from Canada by or on behalf of the state and obtain federal approval for the program. In June 2020, SB685 was added to HB1280, which included several other prescription drug initiatives. The bill was signed into law in July 2020.

 

Current status:

New Hamphire's legislature approved HB1280 in June 2020, and Governor Sununu signed it into law the following month.

How should we evaluate this program?

The program hasn't started yet, or even been designed, so there's no way to measure whether it saved money or kept patients safe, both promises made at the time of passage. However, the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act contains requirements for safety requirements built into any such program.

Official actions and statements

HB1280: Text of the Bill

SB685: Text of the Bill | New Hampshire State Senate hearing

Testimony opposing SB685:

Op-eds from the Experts

Side Stepping FDA Safeguards to Buy Medicine in Mexico Isn’t Safe, Former DEA Agents Warn

December 10, 2018

In this editorial, which was published in The Salt Lake Tribune on December 10, 2018, former DEA agents Javier Peña and Steve Murphy, warn that importing prescription drugs from other countries is “an extremely risky enterprise with potentially tragic consequences.”

Former Ontario Police Superintendent Warns That Gang-Backed Fentanyl Trafficking Threatens both Canada and the U.S.

November 20, 2018

In this editorial, which appeared in Inside Sources on November 20, 2018, former chief superintendent of the Ontario Provincial Police Don Bell discusses the threat that gang-backed fentanyl trafficking poses to the U.S. and Canada, and emphasizes the importance of working together to secure the border.

Congress Passes Opioid Epidemic Legislative Package

October 17, 2018

The Partnership for Safe Medicines applauds the passage of the SUPPORT Act, an $8 billion package which will help develop non-addictive painkillers, improve prescription drug monitoring programs, establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers, and strengthen Customs and Border Protection’s ability to intercept fentanyl that is illegally shipped into the United States.

Pharmacist and Drug Safety Advocate Urge HHS to Consider the Dangers of Importation

October 17, 2018

In this October 16, 2018 for Drug Topics, Alliance of Safe Online Pharmacies advisor Libby Baney and pharmacist and American Pharmacists Association CEO Thomas Menighan discuss the risks to public safety posed by drug importation.

Importation Has Some Huge Risks

September 5, 2018

There are certainly things we can learn from other countries’ healthcare successes, but importation is not the right approach.

Discussing the Difficulty of the Import Problem

September 4, 2018

This distressing situation shows that deadly fentanyl analogues are killing Americans who are using laced non-opioid prescriptions.

Canadian Law Enforcement Veteran Urges Cross-Border Cooperation to Fight Fentanyl and Other Counterfeit Medicines

August 29, 2018

In this August 21, 2018 editorial for the Havre Daily News Canada Border Services Agency and the Ontario Provincial Police veteran Don Bell talks about the need for Canada and the United States to work together to combat counterfeit drugs.

National Sheriffs’ Association Sends Letter of Concern About Importation of Prescription Drugs

August 29, 2018

On August 8, 2018, the National Sheriffs’ Association wrote the President to oppose prescription drug importation. Importing drugs from other countries, they say, “jeopardizes law enforcement’s ability to protect the public health and endangers the safety of law enforcement and other first responders.”

Drug Importation is Fraught with Peril

August 23, 2018

As a licensed pharmacist, I’m all too familiar with patients’ difficulties getting medications they need and their physician has prescribed. As baby boomers age, pharmacists see more patients at our counters unable to obtain needed treatments for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. This issue is now being acknowledged and a healthy debate has begun over possible solutions. But one idea policymakers shouldn’t pursue is opening up our country’s secure drug supply to medicines coming from outside our borders.

Talk Radio Host Reminds Americans that Drug Reimportation Poses Real Risks

August 10, 2018

In this August 9, 2018 editorial for RealClearMarkets, Bill Martinez reminds Americans that the FDA hasn’t yet approved importation for a reason: it’s impossible to open the floodgates to foreign drug imports without cutting corners on safety.