PhRMA: Lawmakers Criticize Anti-Import Ad Campaign
In a letter sent earlier this week to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, House Commerce Committee ranking member John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ron Klink (D-Pa.) accused the trade association and its members of failing to "stem the rising tide of U.S. Internet purchases of illegal, counterfeit and misbranded products" from foreign countries, Congress Daily reports. PhRMA has launched a major ad campaign against bills that recently passed both houses of Congress that would relax import restrictions on prescription drugs. But the letter from Dingell and Klink noted, "(T)he threat of misbranded and potentially counterfeit drugs entering the United States from foreign sources is already a problem, which your industry has been curiously slow to address." PhRMA officials said their member drug companies "are working to address" the import problems associated with the Internet. An association spokesperson said pharmaceutical companies are concerned that products could be obtained without a valid prescription and that drugs could be diverted illegally. But the spokesperson noted, "There are already problems with Internet pharmacy sales, and what [Congress] is doing (by passing the recent bills) is compounding the problem." Instead, the spokesperson suggested that Congress focus on passing a Medicare prescription drug coverage bill. Other House members also criticized PhRMA's latest ad campaign Wednesday: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told a news conference, "The ads have one purpose -- to protect the bloated profits that pharmaceutical companies are making at the expense of American's seniors." DeLauro called on PhRMA to donate the money spent on the ad campaign to seniors who need prescription drugs (Fulton, 7/26).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.