Nevada A.G. Says Drug Reimportation Program Not Legally Feasible
Nevada Attorney General George Chanos (R) on Dec. 27, 2005, issued an opinion asserting that a state law permitting residents to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada presents "insurmountable legal obstacles to the importation of virtually any drugs from Canada," the Reno Gazette-Journal reports (Damon, Reno Gazette-Journal, 12/28/05).
Under a Nevada law that took effect on July 1, 2005, state residents can purchase a 90-day supply of medication from licensed Canadian pharmacies through a state-run Web site (American Health Line, 10/14/05).
The Nevada Board of Pharmacy, which has four licensing applications pending from Canadian pharmacies, had sought Chanos' interpretation of a provision in the law requiring reimported drugs to be approved by FDA. The board now will decide whether to move ahead with the program (Reno Gazette-Journal, 12/28/05).
In the opinion, Chanos wrote that the pharmacy board "could not reasonably be expected to confirm that the 'manufacturing process,' the 'formulation,' the 'storage' and/or the 'pedigree' [of prescription drugs] have been ensured and/or approved by the FDA." In addition, he said the legislature's intent in drafting the legislation was to require all drugs purchased from Canadian pharmacies to undergo the FDA approval process.
State Sen. Joe Heck (R), who wrote the provision requiring FDA approval, said his intention was to ensure drugs purchased from Canada were the exact medications marketed in the U.S.
Heck and Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley (D), a co-author of the legislation, wrote a letter to Chanos aiming to clarify their intent in writing the provision (Riley, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 12/27/05).
Chanos said, "Today the proponents of the bill are seeking to advance a different interpretation of 'FDA-approved' than the definition they advanced during the legislative session." He continued, "You can't do that. It's not just an issue of labeling" (Reno Gazette-Journal, 12/28/05).
Buckley said she will urge the pharmacy board to move forward with the program despite Chanos' opinion (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 12/27/05).