Drug Importation in New Mexico: An Overview
1. What is Drug Importation? A short primer and guide to keeping New Mexico residents safe.
2. Recent Statements Opposing Canadian Drug Importation
- American Pharmacists Association
- Canadian Pharmacists Association
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
- Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
- Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management
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.
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.
- 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
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 . . .
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.
The Washington Examiner recently ran an op-ed by Charlie Cichon, the Executive Director of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. In it he explained how the opioid crisis will only be made worse if the U.S. allows drug importation.
On Tuesday, February 28, Allan Coukell, Senior Director of Health Programs for the Pew Charitable Trusts, wrote Senator Bernie Sanders to ask that he not undermine safety protections for medication with the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.
In 2016, the American Medical Association reaffirmed its longheld opposition to drug importation through two policy statements. The first, “Prescription Drug Importation and Patient Safety D-100.983,” supports only the importation of FDA-approved medicines. The second, “Federal Regulation and Computerized Tracking of Pharmaceuticals During Shipping and Handling from Manufacture Until Ultimately Received by Patient D-100.985,” promised to actively oppose drug diversion, illegal importation, and drug counterfeiting.
Counterfeiting of drugs has exploded since we last had a serious debate about the importation of branded drugs. In just one year, 2013, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute reports that worldwide incidents of pharmaceutical crime rose almost 9%. During one week in 2013, the FDA, in partnership with Interpol, seized $41 million worth of illegal or counterfeit medicines, and shut down over 1,600 illegal online pharmacies. Mexico is a major global source of those fake drugs. Its illicit trade stands at an estimated $650 million per year–equal to 10% of its total drug sales.
In May 2004, anesthesiologist and American Medical Association trustee Rebecca J. Patchin, MD spoke before the Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Drug Importation to express concern about the safety and reliability of imported drugs.