Is the government cracking down on personal importation?

On October 15 of last year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA issued a rule giving the government the authority to seize and destroy personally imported drugs. We’ve been anxiously anticipating the fallout from this unjust regulation. And we just heard about an individual in Chicago whose medication was confiscated.

It’s hard to know if this is an isolated incident or the beginning of a crackdown on personal importation. But we don’t want to take any chances. We need to act now, and we need your help. If you rely on safe and affordable drug importation to access your needed medications, consider a donation to RxRights.

You may recall, we urged you to contact your senators and the Secretary of Human Services about the problematic language in Section 708 of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act a couple of years ago. Despite our best efforts, the law passed. But your letters had an influence! Initially, the government was going to hold consumers responsible for the cost of the storage and destruction of their confiscated medications. But the FDA’s website indicates it does not intend to pursue recovery of these costs from individuals importing medicine for personal use. That’s a win, no matter how small.

Still, consumers will lose the money they paid for the shipment. And more importantly, they will lose access to their lifeline to affordable medicine. We can’t let this happen. Nearly 5 million Americans import their prescription drugs from Canada and other international pharmacies each year.

Judith from California relies on importation to access her life-sustaining asthma inhalers. She shared her story with us.

“The price of asthma inhalers is too expensive in USA. I can import them for less than the cost of one inhaler by purchasing three of them. Even with Medicare D, the cost is too high for fixed income citizens.”

This case in Chicago has us gravely concerned. How many more cases haven’t we heard about? Are you having trouble obtaining imported drugs? If so, please let us know immediately. We intend to do everything we can to help.

 

 

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