Reports: New Maine law allows drug importation

FDA declines to comment, though agency regulations forbid buying drugs from abroad

NEW YORK — A new law in Maine will allow consumers to purchase drugs by mail order from some pharmacies overseas, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the law, a first, had sparked lawsuits from drug companies, who say the law will threaten patient safety by opening the U.S. supply chain to counterfeit and adulterated medications. Supporters of the law, including Republican Gov. Paul LePage, say drug makers are more concerned about losing money from the law.

The law formalizes a practice that has existed in the state for several years. According to the Journal, the city of Portland, Maine, was able to save $3.2 million between 2004 and 2012 by going through the broker CanaRx.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration prohibits importation of drugs, and the agency would not comment on the law when asked by Journal reporters. The newspaper noted that Americans pay more for drugs than people in countries where governments set price ceilings or negotiate prices with drug manufacturers.

 

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