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“Congress should act now to ensure personal prescription importation is included in the reconciliation package and protected under the law,” CPPI Executive Director says

The Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) released the following statement on the Health and Human Services (HHS) report “A Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Price” submitted to the White House Competition Council on Thursday September 9, 2021:

“While we applaud the Biden Administration’s efforts to lower prescription drug prices, this plan gets prescription importation wrong and misses the only immediate source of safe and affordable medicines: allowing Americans to import for personal use,” said Jack Pfeiffer, CPPI Executive Director.

“Americans can’t afford to wait years for relief as a limited number of states design, seek federal approval, and implement programs that allow for bulk importation of prescription drugs. Congress should act now to ensure personal prescription importation is included in the reconciliation package and protected under the law. Just like with the recently approved rule on wholesale importation, HHS should certify that medications imported from licensed Canadian pharmacies clearly meet the standards for significant consumer cost savings and pose no risk to public health.”

The Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Prices is the HHS response to President Biden’s executive order on competition. This order directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work with states and tribes to support wholesale drug importation programs from Canadian sources. Unfortunately, this limited approach to legal drug importation faces major challenges and has several drawbacks. Only six states, Colorado, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Vermont have importation laws on the books. Only two states, Florida and Vermont, have submitted state importation plans to the FDA. No state plan has yet to be approved by federal regulators.

State and tribal wholesale importation programs require extensive requirements that add layers of bureaucracy and complicated supply chains that will take years to design and implement before any Americans can access imported medicines. These state wholesale importation programs also add pricey middlemen that cut into patients’ proposed savings. Furthermore, Canadian regulatory restrictions, federal approval, and legal challenges remain obstacles for state wholesale importation programs to become operational.

“Approving a pathway for Americans to legally import safe and affordable medicines from licensed Canadian pharmacies is the only way for Americans to receive immediate, much-needed relief from the devastating high costs of prescription drugs,” says Pfeiffer.

While struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, 29% of Americans failed to take their prescribed medications due to cost. More than 131 million people — 66% of all adults in the United States — use prescription drugs. Brand prescription drugs regularly cost 50 to 90 percent more at American pharmacies than they do from licensed online Canadian pharmacies. Since Congress first opened the door for Americans to import medicines from Canada, millions of Americans have found price savings.“All Americans need and deserve access to safe and affordable prescription drugs and HHS-approval of importation for personal use can offer that immediately,” said Pfeiffer.

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