NACDS Voices Support for Senate Vote on Drug Importation Amendment

Enabling individuals to import prescription drugs poses risks to patient safety and undermines the role of the pharmacists, NACDS says.

National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, issued a statement following the US Senate’s 55-45 vote to defeat an amendment that would have prohibited the FDA from preventing individuals from importing prescription drugs.

“Given that consumer safety cannot be ensured under a prescription drug reimportation system, and that such a system would reduce patients’ access to professional services of their local licensed pharmacists, the Senate made the right decision,” said Anderson. “NACDS appreciates the genuine interest in reducing healthcare expenses that is a motivating factor behind this amendment, and NACDS remains committed to working with all branches and all levels of government, as well as private payers, to improve patient health and reduce costs.”

In addition to concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs, Anderson also pointed out that individuals who obtain medications through personal importation are less likely to benefit from the professional services of their local pharmacist.

“Community pharmacy offers many viable solutions that make prescriptions more affordable and that help to reduce overall healthcare costs,” he said. “These include generic drug utilization, medication therapy management that fosters proper use of medications, screenings, health education, vaccinations, and more.”

Anderson also expressed concerns that Senate Amendment 769 would contribute to the growing problem of illegal Internet drug sellers.

“These sites often ship unapproved, counterfeit, mislabeled, or adulterated products presenting serious health and safety concerns,” the letter stated. Instead of pursuing importation as a method of reducing drug expenditures, NACDS is urging the Senate to consider policies to support cost-saving alternatives, such as the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act (S. 274), which would improve access to MTM services for seniors in Medicare Part D, helping reduce the costs associated with medication non-compliance, and the Affordable Medicines Utilization Act (S.1356), which would encourage states to increase generic dispensing rates in their Medicaid programs.

The Senate’s action occurred during consideration of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

To read the letter that NACDS issued, click here.