New bill would allow importation from Canada
Your actions to counter the FDA rules regarding Section 708 of Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) are gaining traction.
As you may know, the rule would enable government officials to seize and destroy safe imported medicine. We recently wrote about Senator Vitter’s amendment to eliminate funding for enforcement of this rule—which would effectively undermine it.
Now, Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and McCain (R-AZ) have introduced S.2549, the ‘‘Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act of 2014.” This bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow for personal importation from Canada. And it goes even further, requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create rules to enable and facilitate the importation of safe and affordable medicine. For example, the Secretary would be tasked with creating a list of approved Canadian pharmacies that would be available to consumers via the FDA website.
Pointing American consumers towards verified, safe online pharmacies would be a serious step in the right direction. RxRights has long advocated such a common sense tactic, since the cost of medicine in the U.S. is unaffordable for millions of Americans. Giving them a safe alternative so that they can access their needed medications is the humane thing to do.
The bill would allow personal importation of a 90-day supply from Canada. It outlines some key criteria, such as requiring that the pharmacist and pharmacy are licensed in Canada and that the patient has a valid prescription (written by a U.S. doctor). It specifically disallows the importation of controlled substances. Overall, we approve of the bill’s language. In fact, these are similar to the guidelines that we recommend people follow when looking for a safe online pharmacy
We commend the Senators for their work on this bill. In the future, we’d like to see a bill that expands to include importation from other countries such as the U.K., Australia and New Zealand (as in the recent Maine legislation). But allowing importation from Canada is definitely progress for cash-strapped consumers who can’t afford their medicine. Because, as we often say, a drug that isn’t affordable is neither safe nor effective!