Pfizer Official Plans To Join Lawmakers To Speak in Favor of Prescription Drug Reimportation
Dr. Peter Rost, vice president in marketing for Pfizer's growth hormone Genotropin, on Thursday will appear at a news conference with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to show support for efforts to facilitate the importation of lower-cost, U.S.-made prescription drugs, the Wall Street Journal reports. A spokesperson for Pfizer reiterated the drug company's opposition to reimportation and said Rost has decided to discuss his "personal opinions" on the matter, the Journal reports.
Rost said he wants to continue working in the drug industry and hopes speaking out will have a constructive influence on the debate, according to the Journal. "The industry is making a big political mistake right now to fight reimportation," Rost said, adding, "The biggest safety issue is people not taking the drugs they need."
Rost will appear at the news conference with Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Reps. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) (Hensley, Wall Street Journal, 9/22). Rost began advocating drug reimportation after he posted a positive review on Amazon.com last month about the book "The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What To Do About It," written by former New England Journal of Medicine editor in chief Marcia Angell. Since then, Rost has said that higher-income nations in Europe often reimport prescription drugs from nations such as Italy, Greece and Spain, which have lower prices, and that he has "never, not once, heard the drug industry, regulatory agencies, the government or anyone express any concern related to safety" (California Healthline, 9/13).
Rost is "no stranger to controversy," according to the Journal. He filed a lawsuit against his former employer Wyeth over allegations that the company had defrauded foreign governments of tax payments for executive bonuses and retaliated against him for disclosing the practice (Wall Street Journal, 9/22).