Efforts to promote the importation of prescription drugs — seen by some as one way to mitigate the escalating cost of medications — could compromise the safety of the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain, according to HDA’s John Gray and NACDS’ Steve Anderson.
In a blog post on Monday for the policy journal The Hill, Gray, president and CEO of Healthcare Distribution Alliance, and Anderson, president and CEO of National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said drug importation would undermine the safeguards put in place with the passage of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in 2013 — namely, track-and-trace capability for pharmaceuticals.
Gray and Anderson’s comments come as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee this week plans to assess legislation concerning the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA).
“The Healthcare Distribution Alliance and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores — representing the nation’s primary pharmaceutical distributors and pharmacies — are voicing our strong opposition to any amendment that would allow for drug importation,” they wrote. “Such a proposal will dismantle the hard work supply chain stakeholders and regulators have undertaken since the passage of the groundbreaking Drug Supply Chain Security Act nearly four years ago.”
Importation of prescription drugs is only a “quick fix” for helping to make medications more affordable and presents significant pitfalls for the integrity of the Rx supply chain, Gray and Anderson stressed.
“HDA and NACDS urge the Senate HELP Committee, and other members of Congress, to honor their commitment to protect patients and the safety of the supply chain by rejecting any importation proposal,” they stated in the blog post. “Not only do these proposals contradict past congressional activity, the concerns and risks posed by importation far outweigh any potential benefit to the supply chain, public health or patients.”