ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Following the Senate’s defeat of a proposal that would have permitted “personal importation” of prescription drug medications, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores lauded the Senate’s decision to support patient safety.
During debate of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act on Thursday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., proposed an amendment that would have allowed an individual — not in the business of importing a prescription drug — to import prescription drugs from Canada. NACDS warned that such action would lead to the sale of reimported drugs on websites not associated with licensed pharmacies, further jeopardizing patient safety.
“We thank the Senate for its leadership in protecting patients,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “NACDS shares the goal of reducing the cost of prescription drugs. However, we do not believe that patient safety can be ensured under a prescription drug reimportation system.
"In addition to questions concerning the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs, individuals who obtain medications through personal importation are less likely to benefit from the professional services of their local, licensed community pharmacist,” Anderson said. “Community pharmacy offers various patient services including screenings, health education and wellness programs, vaccinations, and medication therapy management services to help patients understand the importance of taking medications as prescribed — all of which can help patients live healthier and reduce overall healthcare costs.”
Following Senate passage of the bill this week, the House will vote on their version of PDUFA as early as next week. The Senate and House will work to reconcile their respective versions next month. NACDS stated that, throughout this process, it will continue to work with lawmakers to ensure the health and safety of patients served by community pharmacy.