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This month Gallup and West Health released survey data in which seven percent of U.S. adults — representing an estimated 18 million persons — reported in June that they were unable to pay for at least one doctor-prescribed medication for their household during the prior three months.

The truth may be even more dire, amid the pandemic, somewhere between 44% and 29% of Americans failed to take their prescribed medications due to cost.

All Americans need and deserve access to safe and affordable prescription drugs. Brand prescription drugs regularly cost 50 to 90 percent more at American pharmacies than they do from licensed Canadian pharmacies. Since Congress first opened the door for Americans to import medicines from Canada in 2003, millions of Americans have relied on significant cost savings.

Now HHS certification of imported medicines for personal use is needed to ensure Americans have a legal pathway to safe and affordable prescription drugs.

The Gallup/West Health Survey found that among respondents in lower-income households, the rate nearly doubled from 10% in March to 19% in June, a statistically significant increase. people with chronic conditions such as diabetes (12%), COPD (12%), and those who are immune compromised (15%) also couldn’t afford their prescriptions at almost twice the rate of Americans generally. Studies have shown that when people living with chronic disease do not maintain their medication regimen, it can lead to a worsening of disease, higher cost care, and premature death.

HHS should certify that medications imported from licensed Canadian pharmacies for personal use clearly meet the standards for significant consumer cost savings and pose no risk to public health, just like they did with the recently approved rule on wholesale importation.

Americans can’t wait years for relief when a straightforward and immediate avenue for safe and affordable prescription drugs is readily available. Secretary Becerra’s approval of a legal pathway for Americans to import safe and affordable medicines from licensed Canadian pharmacies is the only way for Americans to receive much-needed immediate relief from the devastating high costs of prescription drugs.

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