Risky Drug Importation

Published November 3, 2004

Now Governor Blagojevich wants to import 200,000 doses of flu vaccine from Europe.

The flu vaccine he is trying to get has not been clinically tested on U.S. flu patients, though our governor says a review of the literature showed its properties are identical to the properties of flu vaccines used in the U.S. Heck, if he read it, it must be true.

It is illegal to import drugs from other countries and they are not guaranteed to be safe or even the same drug you think you are purchasing. Importation of flu vaccines or any other drug is not a long-term solution.

The governor also has plans to import many other drugs from other countries, like Canada. What happens when the drug companies simply provide fewer drugs to Canada in the first place? Canada’s market is very tiny compared to the U.S. market, and since Canada imports most of the drugs it needs for its own residents, within a year or two the price differential will disappear. Canada will have lost out on those drugs and we will be back to where we started.

There are other alternatives. Check with your doctors–they often have free samples from the manufacturers and are happy to give them out. All of the major drug companies have discount card programs that give drugs at a very low price or even for free to senior citizens and low-income families.

The FDA says it can’t ensure the safety of imported drugs. You wouldn’t buy a car or major appliance without a guarantee, why would you buy drugs without a guarantee? This is YOUR life folks, is it worth the risk?

Nikki Comerford
Chicago, Illinois

Nikki Comerford is associate publisher of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute.