WSJ: ARE IMPORTS THE ANSWER TO HIGH RX PRICES?

Updated: Nov 7

Here’s the short answer to this headline from our perspective: YES!


The Wall Street Journal recently published a story on Florida legislation seeking to allow importation of prescription drugs. Several good points raised in this Letter to the Editor from Mary Mayhew, Secretary of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, including:


In my short time as secretary, I have heard firsthand the plight of seniors who see their prescriptions increase month after month and from families rationing their life-saving medicines to pay for groceries under the current flawed prescription drug system. In 2016, 45 million adults did not fill a prescription due to cost. Further, Americans spend 30%-190% more on prescription drugs compared to other high-income developed nations and pay significantly more for the same drugs.


Opponents of importation are quick to play on our worst fears of counterfeit medications, but Mayhew counters their arguments by pointing out the facts:


The reality is that 40% of all drugs sold in the U.S. are already imported and 80% of active ingredients used in U.S. drugs come from abroad. Florida’s program is no more risky than a trip to your local Walgreens. It simply seeks to expand the cost savings opportunities that manufacturers have benefitted from for years to Floridians.


The issue is not safety as they would have us believe but rather an issue of protecting their profits. The pharmaceutical industry is global, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the U.S. are already sourced and manufactured in other countries.


As Dr. Allan Shanberg adds in the comment section, “The Canadian International Pharmacy Association maintains an approved list of pharmacies from which drugs and medication may be purchased online. These pharmacies have been researched and veried by the Canadian pharmaceutical industry as well as the government.”


Americans have been ordering medications from Canada safely and affordably for more than 15 years and lawmakers know the facts of importation. We will be watching and hoping that they move forward with proposals to import medications and finally help bring down the high cost of prescription drugs.


If you have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, the full piece can be accessed here.

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