Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Assistant Leader Cornyn, and Assistant Leader Durbin:
On behalf of ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists), I am writing to convey our opposition to any legislation that would allow for distributors, pharmacies, or individuals to import prescription medications from Canada or other countries.
ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s more than 44,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For 75 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website, www.ashp.org, or its consumer website, www.SafeMedication.com.
Over recent decades, problems with the integrity of America’s drug supply have endangered patient health and resulted in the passage of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in 2013. Importation of medications from foreign countries further complicates this issue and would jeopardize the effectiveness of the DSCSA. Our opposition is based ASHP’s policy on importation of pharmaceuticals, which advocates for the continuation and application of laws and regulations enforced by the FDA to maintain the integrity of the supply chain, provide for continued patient access to pharmacists’ review of medications, preserve the patient-pharmacist-prescriber relationship, and provide for adequate patient counseling and education. 1
While the concept of pharmaceutical importation may seem as simple as a U.S. manufacturer making and shipping drugs to Canada, for example, and Americans purchasing them to be sent back to the U.S., it is somewhat more complex.
1 IMPORTATION OF PHARMACEUTICALS: To advocate for the continuation and application of laws and regulations enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state boards of pharmacy with respect to the
importation of pharmaceuticals in order to (1) maintain the integrity of the pharmaceutical supply chain and avoid the introduction of counterfeit products into the United States; (2) provide for continued patient access to pharmacist review of all medications and preserve the patient-pharmacist-prescriber relationship; and (3) provide adequate patient counseling and education, particularly to patients taking multiple high-risk medications; further, to urge the FDA and state boards of pharmacy to vigorously enforce federal and state laws in relation to importation of pharmaceuticals by individuals, distributors (including wholesalers), and pharmacies that bypass a safe and secure regulatory framework.