Chicago, May 14, 2004: On Wednesday, May 12, a consulting group led by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani submitted an interim report on the safety implications of allowing prescription drugs to be imported to the U.S. Some of the findings of the report, as summarized in the report itself, include:
- After conducting a preliminary, independent review of the issues associated with the wholesale importation of prescription medicines, it is evident that the existing pharmaceutical system is open to significant exploitation of counterfeit, diluted or adulterated drugs coming into the United States. The limitations of our system should be addressed before it is opened to wholesale importation.
- Although the current pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution system is comprehensive and regulated, counterfeit or otherwise adulterated products still penetrate the market.
- There are serious questions as to the quality and safety of the medicine products coming into the United States from foreign sources.
- There are no minimum standards and little or no regulation regarding the operations of internet pharmacies.
- There are identifiable weaknesses in the current pharmaceutical distribution chain (e.g., the "secondary" wholesale distribution market and the lack of a drug pedigree)
- The agencies responsible for enforcing the existing laws and regulations are already overwhelmed with the current volume of non-FDA approved prescription medicines coming into the United States.
- The potential exists for the use of the nation's medicine supply as a vehicle for terrorist activity.
- There are serious implications for Canadians with the current demand on their drug supply.
"This report is a loud and serious warning to politicians who think they can win votes by promising cheaper drugs from Canada," says Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Chicago. "It is incredibly irresponsible to call for lifting the ban on importing prescription drugs when virtually all experts recognize the risk posed by allowing uninspected drugs from countries that sponsor terrorism to enter the U.S. from Canada."
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