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On October 21, the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) issued a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern that the millions of Americans who currently rely on personal importation from licensed online Canadian pharmacies for access to affordable life-saving prescription drugs will be denied their medication due to the HHS September 24 “Final Importation Rule” and “Request for Proposals Regarding Waivers for Individual Prescription Drug Importation Programs.”

“We urge you to exercise your authority to continue to permit Americans to import from licensed Canadian pharmacies,” said Jack Pfeiffer, CPPI Executive Director. “While the Administration’s intention of reducing Americans’ prescription drug costs by expanding importation is clear, the September 24th Final Importation Rule and RFP would have the unintended consequence of cutting Americans off from the licensed pharmacies on which they depend.”

The final rule and RFP would restrict importation of prescription drugs only to authorized State-licensed pharmacies, effectively blocking the CPPI community and millions of Americans from accessing their medications. The September 24th Request for Proposal offers that, “a pathway would not authorize individuals in the United States to purchase prescription drugs through the Internet, directly from a foreign pharmacy, or from any other foreign seller.”

The RFP ignores Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance that for more than a decade has allowed millions of Americans to safely personally import prescriptions when using certified, trusted, and legitimate Canadian pharmacies.

Instead of lowering American prescription drug costs, the Final Rule and RFP could actually increase costs as they install middlemen between American patients and Canadian medication providers. The Final Rule calls for the following new middlemen: an importer, statutory tester, relabeler or repackager, a wholesaler and a pharmacist. Each of these new middlemen would eat into the savings that Americans who personally import currently benefit from. In this manner the Final Rule would actually increase costs on Americans who currently rely on prescription importation, and would eliminate Americans’ greatest savings on imported prescription medications.

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