Canadian and Foreign Drug Importation Won't Provide Choice OR Cost Savings for Patients and Plan Sponsors - Here's Why:
At a time when prescription drug prices are so high that several states are considering legislation to make foreign prescription drug importation legal, PUTT again warns legislators and consumers that this proposed “solution” will NOT fix the problem of high drug prices.
As pharmacists, our first concern is for patient safety. But we also know (a little too well) how drug prices force some patients into rationing medicine or not filling a prescription, and that legislators are responding to constituents’ concerns for drug cost. Still, foreign drug importation, while it may provide some superficial cost savings, will not provide the kind of choice or value patients need.
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Legislation In the News
Importing Bad Ideas on Drug Prices
WSJ Opinion - April 15, 2019
.. The Florida Legislature has been moving on a plan pushed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis that directs the state health agency to set up a prescription drug importation
program. Other states like Colorado are pondering similar schemes, and Vermont is well along in setting one up...
.. One question is why Canada would allow the U.S. to siphon its drug stocks. Canada’s drug supply for 37 million residents isn’t brimming with extra products to sell to 21 million Floridians, even on a limited scale.
Keep in mind that U.S. manufacturers sell drugs for Canadians to Canadian wholesalers. Companies are not going to sell Canadians more drugs so the product can be exported to the U.S. via price arbitrage, and such secondary sales can be prohibited in contracts. Canada could also ban such sales lest it risk losing deals on drugs for their own people. Savings may also be elusive. When federal importation was floated in the early 2000s, an FDA analysis found that five of seven of America’s best-selling generic drugs for chronic conditions were cheaper than Canadian generics. One product didn’t have a generic available in Canada. This analysis is outdated but the basics are still relevant: Nine in 10 prescriptions in the U.S. are generic, versus roughly 70% in Canada, which means the U.S. enjoys much higher savings from generics.
Read Full Article from the Wall Street Journal