National Consumers League

NCL statement on FDA Importation Work Group

July 30, 2018

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—In response to the recent request by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establish a working group to examine the possibility of importing prescription drugs, the National Consumers League has issued the following statement, which may be attributed to Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director:

While the National Consumers League (NCL) supports the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) goal of ensuring patient access to medically necessary drugs that are in shortage, we have significant concerns about allowing importation to address this challenge.

NCL believes that allowing importation could put patient health and safety at risk and lead us down a dangerous path. Every head of Health and Human Services and the FDA for the last 18 years has refused to certify the safety of drug importation. NCL fears that authorizing importation, even under limited circumstances to address drug shortages, would expose consumers to unknown risks and undermine the security of the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain.

Furthermore, NCL is concerned that allowing importation will open the U.S. market to a flood of counterfeit and/or substandard drugs. Counterfeit medications made with deadly ingredients have been found in over 40 states across America, posing a significant public health threat. Allowing importation will only serve to exacerbate the challenge of preventing counterfeit drugs from reaching American patients.

Rather than considering importation, NCL encourages FDA to pursue other strategies to ensure the availability of multiple FDA-approved and marketed versions of medically necessary drugs.

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit http://www.nclnet.org.