Drug Importation in New Mexico: An Overview

Key Resources:

1. What is Drug Importation? A short primer and guide to keeping New Mexico residents safe.

2. Recent Statements Opposing Canadian Drug Importation

3. Prescription Drugs in Wyoming, Evaluating State Policy Options For Lowering Costs (October 1, 2020)
The Wyoming Department of Health concluded that it is "virtually impossible to guarantee that consumers will actually see savings, particularly in the case of Canadian drug importation. Basic economics also suggests fundamental problems with this plan that make it unsustainable in the long-run."



In March 2020, the Governor of New Mexico signed SB1, a bill which creates a "wholesale prescription drug importation program" to be administered by New Mexico's Department of Health. The bill requires that New Mexico submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in December 2020.

Current status:

New Mexico is developing a plan to submit to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services for approval by December 15, 2020.

How should we evaluate this program?

The program hasn't started yet 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

Planning documents


  • N.M. May Get Med Imports From Canada Under Trump Order, September 25, 2020
    "An outline of the program must be submitted by Dec. 15 to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, Morgan said, adding that the public will have a chance to comment on the program before then."

Op-eds from the Experts

Comment: Importing Canadian drugs could harm HIV patients

May 12, 2017

This editorial by Scott Bertani was published in the Washington Herald on May 7, 2017. Mr. Bertani is the Director of Policy and Community Relations for Lifelong AIDS Alliance, a nonprofit health advocacy group based in Western Washington.

Former police chief: Why Bernie Sanders’ drug-importation bill keeps me awake at night

May 12, 2017

This editorial by Derek Arnson appeared in the Washington Examiner on May 8, 2017. Mr. Arnson is the former Chief of Police in Nogales, Arizona.

Economist: Drug Importation Will Not Improve Health Care Affordability

May 12, 2017

This editorial by Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D. appeared in Forbes on April 27, 2017. Dr. Winegarden is the Managing Editor for EconoSTATS and a senior Fellow in Business and Economics at the Pacific Research Institute.

Editorial by Former Canadian Health Minister: “Dear Bernie Sanders: Canada is not the United States’ drugstore”

May 12, 2017

his editorial by Leona Aglukkaq appeared in the Washington Post on May 12, 2017. Leona Aglukkaq was a member of Canadian House of Commons representing the riding of Nunavut until 2015. She previously served as Canada’s minister of health from 2008-2013.

Carmichael: Drug Reimportation Isn’t Such A Great Idea After All

May 12, 2017

Ellen L. Carmichael’s editorial appeared in The Hayride on May 5, 2017. Carmichael formerly served as press secretary to now-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. She is currently president of The Lafayette Company.

A Patient Speaks Out: “Drug importation is dangerous.”

May 10, 2017

Ali Schroer wrote this editorial for the Washington Examiner on May 10, 2017.

Like millions of Americans, I take allergy medicine. A few years ago, my doctor urged me to bid farewell to my local pharmacy and instead buy my medication from an online Canadian drug store, where it was cheaper. What terrible advice! The website was counterfeit and sent me “medicine” that was anything but — causing me to get severely sick . . .

Former Head of FBI Warns Law Enforcement Will be Unfairly Burdened by Foreign Drug Importation Proposals

May 10, 2017

In an editorial published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Louis J. Freeh, former director of the FBI and former federal judge, warns that allowing American citizens to purchase medicine from foreign countries puts them at risk from counterfeit drugs, would incentive criminal organizations to make counterfeit drugs, and places more stress on law enforcement efforts to combat the issue.

Karavetsos: Keep U.S. supply of prescription drugs uncorrupted

May 9, 2017

George Karavetsos, former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations wrote this editorial for the Miami Herald on May 6, 2017.

Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies Warns that Drug Importation Proposals Get It Wrong

May 5, 2017

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 . . .

Hill Editorial Warns of Health Risks Resulting from Drug Importation Proposals

May 1, 2017

Ronald Piervincenzi, CEO of the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention describes the dangerous flaws in any plan to open up U.S. borders to wholesale prescription medication importation from Canada.