Senate defeats personal importation bill

October 24, 2011

The NACDS lauded the U.S. Senate’s vote last week to defeat an amendment that would have allowed “personal importation” of prescription medications from Canada.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) lauded the U.S. Senate’s vote last week to defeat an amendment that would have allowed “personal importation” of prescription medications from Canada.

The Senate voted 55-45 to defeat Senator David Vitter’s (R-LA) amendment to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The amendment would have prohibited the FDA from preventing individuals from importing prescription drugs from Canada.

“Given that consumer safety cannot be ensured under a prescription drug reimportation system, and that such a system would reduce patients’ access to professional services of their local licensed pharmacists, the Senate made the right decision….” said Steven Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS.

When he introduced the amendment, Vitter said it was a solution to rising healthcare costs. “Obamacare is proving to be a failure and will leave Americans, particularly senior citizens, struggling to manage the costs of paying for expensive drugs. Reimportation will provide them with some relief and a means to gain access to the medicines they need but so often cannot afford,” Vitter said.

However, in its letter to Senator Vitter, NACDS said that many reimported drugs are sold through illegitimate websites that are not licensed in the United States and are not pharmacies. “In addition to questions concerning the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs, individuals who obtain medications through personal importation are less likely to benefit from the professional services of their local licensed pharmacist,” NACDS wrote.