Eli Lilly takes a stand against drug import legislation

INDIANAPOLIS Eli Lilly is preparing to fight new legislation that would allow Americans to import lower-priced prescription drugs from other countries, saying it would put consumers at huge risk of dangerous counterfeit medicines, which it says is growing to epidemic proportions, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Eli Lilly and other U.S. drug makers won a similar battle last year when the Senate killed a drive that would have allowed consumers, pharmacists, drug wholesalers and distributors to import drugs from Canada, Japan, Australia and many European countries.

But what the drug industry sees as a threat to patient safety and its intellectual property, some consumer groups say is a needed way to provide lower-cost drugs to Americans, who pay the highest prices in the world for prescription medicines. Supporters say the bill adequately protects the public against counterfeit drugs.

The companies though are very concerned about counterfeit drugs being brought into the country. They feel the drugs are unsafe and pose a real health threat and on top of which it would be hard to monitor the countries exporting the medications. Organized criminals, the industry says, make many of the drugs, in unsanitary conditions that would never pass FDA approval. Lawmakers though argue that the bill would have provisions in it to allow the Food and Drug Administration to inspect the warehouses of foreign exporters and domestic importers.

The bill has yet to be set for a vote, and both sides say it could come up with little notice.

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