American Medical Association Considers Endorsement of Prescription Drug Reimportation From Certain Nations
Members of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates during an annual meeting in Atlanta on Sunday debated whether to endorse the reimportation of lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and some other nations, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Odum, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 12/5). According to the Chicago Tribune, AMA endorsement could give the issue "momentum" in Congress early next year, when it is expected to come for a vote.
A measure stating AMA's support for legalizing reimportation is expected to pass in part because several large state delegations, such as the California Medical Association, support legalizing reimportation, the Tribune reports. One resolution submitted by AMA's board of trustees on Sunday would call on FDA to adopt electronic tracking technology for imported prescription drugs (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 12/6).
Another resolution being debated would ask FDA to develop drug importation guidelines with Canadian officials. The resolutions will come before the organization's full house for a vote on Monday or Tuesday (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 12/6).
Stephanie Stanton, a voting AMA delegate and University of Minnesota medical student, said, "We owe it to our patients to advocate for safe importation of drugs. This is all because of our patients, and it is driven by our patients."
Dr. Richard Peer at the meeting told AMA members that Canada "cannot possibly have enough" prescription drugs to supply the U.S. population if importation becomes legal.
Paul Antony, chief medical officer for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said, "The development costs (of drugs) have to be paid for by the current sales of medications. The industry is interested in a long-term solution. We do not believe importation is a long-term solution to the problem" (Chicago Tribune, 12/6).