Op-eds: Canadian and American regulators, law enforcement and patient advocates oppose drug importation
Since 2000, every head of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has opposed drug importation because the benefits that might be gained are far outweighed by the many dangers. Law enforcement, patient advocates, pharmacy groups, and regulators agree.
In a March 29, 2019 editorial, Charles “Sam” Faddis discussed the importance of not overlooking the effects that fentanyl, and especially counterfeit medicines made with fentanyl, is having on the opioid crisis in America…
In this opinion piece published March 10, 2018 in Medicine Hat News, Dr. Kristina Acri, an academic and senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, discusses the problem of counterfeit drugs in Canada…
Other countries, even advanced countries like Canada, don’t provide the same level of protection. From April 2016 to March 2017, Canadian agents discovered more than 5,500 packages of counterfeit drugs in their midst. Loosening importation restrictions would expose American patients to potentially deadly counterfeit pills.
In a February 16, 2018 editorial for the Salt Lake Tribune, BioUtah President and CEO Kelly Slone explained that importing medicines from Canada would “open the door to dangerous counterfeit medicines,” and “dampen job growth in Utah’s vibrant, dynamic life-sciences industry.”
In this editorial, which was published in the Deseret News on February 11, 2018, economics professor Dr. Kristina Acri warns that drug importation will expose Utahns to dangerous counterfeit drugs.
“After more than two decades of studying the economic and health impacts of drug importation,” she writes. “the verdict on bringing drugs in from Canada is clear and consistent: It’s a risky gamble and one too dangerous to take. Experts know that preventing the introduction of dangerous counterfeit medicines cannot be guaranteed.”
Nationally recognized addiction expert, Dr. Indra Cidambi, who is the Medical Director of Center for Network Therapy, was interviewed about the threat of counterfeit prescription opioids on February 8, 2018. She said that pressed pills are causing a new wave of overdose deaths among people who believe the “label” on counterfeit drugs, and trust that they know the potency of the pills.
This editorial by Dr. Yanira Cruz was published in Morning Consult on January 18, 2018. Cruz, who is the president and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging and holds a doctorate in Public Health, writes that,
“For Hispanics, the notion of opening up our borders for imported drugs presents a particularly acute threat. Latino families are already afflicted with a ‘perfect storm’ of comparatively poor health and limited access to health care resources. Adding an increased threat of counterfeit – and potentially dangerous – drugs to that mix would be nothing short of devastating.”
In late November, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a landmark report on the global counterfeit drug epidemic. Unfortunately, the WHO glossed over a major cause of the crisis — instability in the European Union’s drug supply chain — and actually gave the European Union cover by applauding its deeply flawed approach to combating counterfeit drugs. We need a better strategy to win the war on counterfeit drugs.
According to retired Phoenix Police Commander Tim Hampton, who wrote this editorial in White Mountain Independent on December 15, 2017, legalizing drug importation will help “criminal organizations . . . exploit weaknesses in the law to traffic narcotics,” and increase the flow of counterfeit pills cut with fentanyl into the country: “The drug importation bill would weaken America’s anti-drug defenses and endanger thousands of innocent lives — here in Arizona and throughout the nation.”
Tim Mackey, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine; a fellow at the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Governance, Accountability and Transparency in the Pharmaceutical Sector; director of Health Care Research and Policy at the University of California, San Diego, Extension; and director of the Global Health Policy Institute. In this op-ed that appeared in STAT News, he warns that the recent report by WHO that estimates that 10% of drugs in the world is fake should be a warning sign…