Drug Importation: The Wrong Path for Americans

Who doesn’t love a road trip? For me, nothing beats hitting the open road. And while this classic American pastime carries minor risks like a flat tire or a wrong turn, it’s easy to account for these challenges – and sometimes they can lead to cool side trips like the world’s largest covered wagon!

Unfortunately contingency plans don’t exist when it comes to the dangers of fake medicines, and that’s all you’ll find when you travel the route of drug importation. Medications purchased online from sites claiming to be from countries like Canada, can result in more damage than a flat tire— they can lead to fatalities.

And now, the United States isn’t the only one voicing its concerns about drug importation. The Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board (NLPB), the governing body of pharmacies operating in their Canadian province, recently wrote a letter to Congress expressing concerns with legislation allowing Americans to legally import drugs from Canada.

The board’s letter cautions that:

“…importation of medicines from Canada is not the solution. The proposed legislation does not include sufficient mechanisms to ensure patient safety, nor does it encourage legal, ethical, and transparent practice by Canadian pharmacists.”

The letter confirms that it is nearly impossible for American and Canadian regulators, law enforcement, and even pharmacists to guarantee the safety and efficacy of imported drugs from Canada. While the NLPB encourages the U.S. to enact solutions to improve the health care system, it echoes that drug importation remains a threat to public safety.

As Congress evaluates policies to improve access to medicines, drug importation remains a dangerous destination on its road map. Creating a pathway for access to safe medicines, without jeopardizing the well-being of the American people, is a direction we can all support.