Media Statement: Experts Say Drug Re-importation Kills New Drug Discovery

Published October 9, 2007

(Chicago, Illinois – October 9, 2007) When President George W. Bush signed the “Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007” on September 27, left unresolved was whether the ban on importing foreign prescription drugs should be lifted.

The following comments on drug importation are health policy experts who have studied the issue. You may quote from their statements here or contact them directly for further comment.

“In the years of debate over this issue, political leaders have disregarded concerns about the safety of imported drugs. But now, the evidence is in. Drug importation would simply open portals through ‘authorized countries’ to allow drugs into the U.S. from third-world countries whose motives are profit, not public safety.

“There are many ways for people to receive help with the costs of medicines: through public programs like Medicare Part D, private programs operated by the pharmaceutical companies, and even competition in the marketplace, with Wal-Mart’s $4 generics. Allowing drug importation is reckless policy and bad politics.”

Grace Marie-Turner
The Galen Institute
[email protected]

“Side-by-side examinations of identical-looking legitimate and counterfeit drugs–including, in the case of the latter, some with no efficacy, others with dangerous ingredients–demonstrate what a reckless policy massive drug importation would be. And what we would gain in lower prices for subjecting our citizens to these dangers would be handily offset by losses of R&D jobs and the economic benefits that come with them.”

David Miller
President & CEO
iBio®/ iBIO Institute
[email protected]

“If all the pols, pundits, and payors who benightedly trumpet drug importation as America’s health care panacea spent as much time, energy, and passion addressing real health care solutions–like how to advance personalized medicine–imagine what we could accomplish. I can. And that’s why having to deal with this bogus issue is so frustrating.”

Peter Pitts
Former Associate Commissioner
Food & Drug Administration
[email protected]

“Legalized drug re-importation runs the risk of depriving Americans of newer drugs by removing the incentive to innovate. Furthermore, it is unnecessary. Americans in search of low-cost drugs have plenty of options, including therapeutic substitutes and generic substitutes.”

Devon Herrick, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
National Center for Policy Analysis
devon.herrick@[email protected]
Cell 469/951-4596

“The consequence of re-importing price-controlled drugs will be a long-term negative impact on the development of new medicines because the purchase price of currently available drugs subsidizes research and development of new medicines. So, motivated by a desire to lower the cost of prescription medicines, policymakers advocating for re-importation schemes are in fact setting the stage for even higher drug costs and lower availability in years to come.”

Trevor R. Martin
Director, Government Relations
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

For further information about The Heartland Institute, please contact Harriette Johnson, media relations manager, at 312/377-4000 or email [email protected].