Published Online: Saturday, September 1, 2007
Chain-drugstore industry leaders have called on Congress to ?hang tough? against the importation of prescription drugs from other countries.They warn that this practice ?creates an enormous public health risk and will undermine Congress? efforts to safeguard medicines.?

In letters to congressional leaders responsible for hammering out a final version of this year?s FDA reform legislation, officials at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) argued that Rx imports create ?problems related to counterfeit and adulterated drugs and subpar drug-manufacturing processes.?

These threats are ?already of great concern to patients, Congress, and chain pharmacy,? and they ?will significantly increase, given the lack of effective ways to guarantee the safety of imported drugs,? according to NACDS.

The chain-pharmacy group?s opposition to prescription-drug imports became a tougher sell on Capitol Hill when the Democrats swept into power. Many Democrats favor relaxing barriers to drug imports so as to reduce prescription costs for American consumers. NACDS, however, reminded Congress that this course may leave US patients vulnerable to health risks.

NACDS also urged lawmakers to move forward with legislation to regulate Internet pharmacies. ?We share the Senate?s desire to eliminate rogue Internet sites that sell drugs, usually without a legitimate prescriber?patient relationship, and often without a prescription,? said the association.

Significantly, however, NACDS called on Congress to draw a clear distinction between these rogue pharmacy Web sites and ?state-licensed, brick-and-mortar pharmacies? that sell legitimate drugs online.

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