Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Chain-drugstore industry leaders havecalled on Congress to ?hang tough?against the importation of prescriptiondrugs from other countries.They warn thatthis practice ?creates an enormous publichealth risk and will undermine Congress?efforts to safeguard medicines.?

In letters to congressional leadersresponsible for hammering out a finalversion of this year?s FDA reform legislation,officials at the National Associationof Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) arguedthat Rx imports create ?problems relatedto counterfeit and adulterated drugs andsubpar drug-manufacturing processes.?

These threats are ?already of greatconcern to patients, Congress, and chainpharmacy,? and they ?will significantlyincrease, given the lack of effective waysto guarantee the safety of importeddrugs,? according to NACDS.

The chain-pharmacy group?s oppositionto prescription-drug imports becamea tougher sell on Capitol Hill whenthe Democrats swept into power. ManyDemocrats favor relaxing barriers to drugimports so as to reduce prescriptioncosts for American consumers. NACDS,however, reminded Congress that thiscourse may leave US patients vulnerableto health risks.

NACDS also urged lawmakers to moveforward with legislation to regulateInternet pharmacies. ?We share theSenate?s desire to eliminate rogueInternet sites that sell drugs, usually withouta legitimate prescriber?patient relationship,and often without a prescription,?said the association.

Significantly, however, NACDS calledon Congress to draw a clear distinctionbetween these rogue pharmacy Websites and ?state-licensed, brick-and-mortarpharmacies? that sell legitimate drugsonline.