California Pharmacists Association To Work With FDA To Curb Reimportation of Prescription Drugs
The California Pharmacists Association on Thursday announced that it will begin working with the FDA to curb the reimportation of lower-cost U.S.-made prescription drugs from Canada, the Sacramento Bee reports. CPA officials plan to ask pharmacists to report any drug reimportation by customers to state and federal officials (Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 10/23). The association also said it will work with state lawmakers, medical associations and seniors health groups to warn consumers about the potential dangers of reimporting drugs, the Orange County Register reports (Munoz, Orange County Register, 10/23). Carlo Michelotti, CEO of the association, said that the issue of reimportation is a "political hot potato" and that the number of people reimporting drugs has "turned into a tidal wave" (Sacramento Bee, 10/23). "There's this illusion of safety, which is absolutely false, and there is also the illusion of 'maybe this isn't really all that illegal.' That's absolutely false too," Michelotti said. Tom McGinnis, director of pharmacy affairs for the FDA, said that reimporting prescription drugs is a "buyer-beware market" because the FDA has "no information on the strength, quality and purity of the medications coming in from outside the United States."
The Board of Pharmacy is "taking a different approac[h]" than the CPA, the Register reports. John Jones, president of the pharmacy board, said that while the board has concerns about the safety of reimported drugs, it is also concerned about the cost of drugs in the United States. "We as a board have taken a very cautious approach to make sure that we're not destroying consumers' access to drugs they can afford," Jones said, adding that the board will review its jurisdiction and applicable laws before it "aggressively pursues" businesses that help state residents reimport drugs, the Register reports (Orange County Register, 10/23). Patricia Harris, executive director of the board, said that the board believes enforcing reimportation laws is a federal issue, adding, "It's a gray area" (Sacramento Bee, 10/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.