Drug Importation in Texas: An Overview
The Texas Legislature introduced House Bill 25, the Wholesale Prescription Drug Importation Act, in November 2022. PSM shared an analysis of the bill with the Texas House committee that you can read. The bill, which has passed the House and Senate and is expected to be signed by the Governor, will require the executive commissioner of Texas's Health and Human Services Commission to take action to establish Canadian drug importation beginning in September 2023.
Synopsis / Media Contact
H.B. 25 would require Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission to design a program for bulk importing prescription medicines under 21 USC 384 of the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, more commonly known as a Section 804 State Importation Program (SIP).
For over two decades these programs have proven to be impossible to build safely because:
- Canada refuses to release bulk medications to these programs and has taken steps to restrict U.S. access to their drug supply;
- Canada does not have a Track and Trace program;
- The cost of testing imported medication far outweighs the savings; and
- Medicaid programs already get medicine cheaper than Canadian provinces, reducing any potential savings.
This legislation has been pushed without concern for the consequences. As many states discovered during the pandemic trying to buy hard-to-find N95 masks, buying medical products that aren't readily available creates great risk of counterfeit products. PSM believes that the Texas legislature is forcing it's patients and pharmacists to take unacceptable risks with patient health and pharmacist liability by enacting this program without looking at the risks.
PSM Executive Director Shabbir Imber Safdar is available to do interviews to explain the risks of this program to media. Contact him through email@example.com and specify your print deadline.
Background / resources
Just learning about the Texas foreign drug importation proposal? Start with some of these resources that outline the safety issues.
Op-eds from the Experts
This editorial by Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D. appeared in Forbes on August 7, 2019. Dr. Winegarden is the Managing Editor for EconoSTATS and a senior Fellow in Business and Economics at the Pacific Research Institute.
Policy Expert: “Even if Canada were a willing participant, the U.S. can’t ensure the safety of these drugs.”
In this July 31, 2019 blog post on the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) website, CAGW Director of Health and Science Policy Elizabeth Wright questions the questions the effectiveness and safety of government importation schemes.
This editorial by Adam Fein and Dirk Rodgers was published in Stat News on July 11, 2019. In it, Fein and Rodgers warn that plans by states to create drug importation programs will open new pathways for counterfeit drugs to enter the U.S. drug supply chain…
Importation Is An Opportunity For Organized Crime to Expand Counterfeit Drug Profits, DEA Veteran Says
This editorial by retired DEA agent Douglas Hebert was published in The Arizona Capital Times ,on June 27, 2019. In it, Hebert explains how drug importation programs will help organized crime expand their $200 billion-a-year counterfeit pharmaceutical industry into the U.S., at the expense of Americans.
Retired Canadian law enforcement official urges the New York Legislature: “Step Away” from dangerous drug importation proposal
In this editorial, which was published in Crain’s New York Business on June 19, 2019, Canadian law enforcement veteran Don Bell explains that the New York Legislature’s effort to establish a wholesale prescription drug importation program, is “a gigantic loophole that criminals will pounce on to traffic counterfeit drugs into the state.”
In this editorial, which was published by the Fraser Institute on June 13, 2019, economist Dr. Kristina Acri argues against importation, concluding: “Diverting drugs meant for Canadian patients to the U.S. through state importation schemes will create shortages for Canadian patients and increase pressure on potentially unscrupulous suppliers to source drugs from wherever they can, opening the door to counterfeiters.”
This editorial by Guy Anthony was published in the Orlando Sentinel on June 12, 2019. Anthony, President and CEO of Black, Gifted & Whole, a nonprofit focused on issues surrounding black, queer men, warns that drug importation will open up “a market for dangerous, counterfeit drugs” that will make it harder for people to live with HIV and other complex illnesses.
Canadian Policy Researcher Warns That Importation Plans By U.S. States Would Leave Canada Without Crucial Medicines
This editorial by Nigel Rawson was published in The Hills Times on June 9, 2019. Dr. Rawson, president of Eastlake Research Group, a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, and an affiliated scholar with the Canadian Health Policy Institute, warns that Canada would run out of necessary medicine if U.S. states begin drug importation programs…
Former DEA agent Doug Herber wrote this editorial, which was published on May 31, 2019 in the White Mountain Independent. In it, he writes that drug importation will cause “patients [to] unwittingly purchase foreign counterfeit drugs disguised as low-level medication, unaware of the dangers, end up as an overdose statistic. “