Stop illegal Rx imports, urges NABP

March 17, 2003

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy urged HHS Secretary Thompson and FDA Commissioner McClellan to enforce laws against the importation of non-FDA approved Rx drugs through foreign Internet and mail order pharmacies.

 

COMMUNITY PRACTICE

Stop illegal Rx imports, urges NABP

In a strongly worded letter, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has urged top Bush Administration officials to halt the illegal importation of non-FDA-approved drugs through foreign Internet and mail-order pharmacies.

Citing concerns about patient safety, NABP urged Health & Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson and Food & Drug Administration commissioner Mark McClellan to enforce U.S. laws covering importation of drugs. NABP executive director Carmen Catizone warned that a "dangerous precedent" is set when unlicensed pharmacies are allowed to dispense non-FDA-approved drugs.

"Access to medications through illegal means does not resolve the problem of access, but only increases the opportunity that U.S. citizens will be harmed by unregulated entities," Catizone continued. "I urge you to do what is necessary and right to protect the American public. We should not wait until increasing numbers of Americans are injured or die before our government acts on their behalf."

On a different Rx-importation front, Catizone attended a meeting in Ottawa late last month with Canadian pharmacy regulators and Internet pharmacy operators, as well as FDA officials. Impressed by the civility among the attendees, he told Drug Topics, "The FDA representatives were unequivocal that drug importation is illegal. In the past, they've said it may be illegal. They feel they don't have the resources and there doesn't seem to be the political support in the United States for enforcement."

The ultimate solution to the Canadian import dilemma is a Medicare Rx benefit, Catizone said. Meanwhile, he said the FDA must confiscate drug packages to let U.S. consumers know it's illegal and U.S. drug manufacturers must shut off distribution to Canadian Internet pharmacies.

Carol Ukens

 



Carol Ukens. Stop illegal Rx imports, urges NABP.

Drug Topics

2003;6:34.