The Washington Post (“Senate likely to Back…“) reports that the Senate will support a plan to remove the legislative barriers against the importation of pharmaceuticals from other countries. According to the article:
“The provision would allow consumers to buy prescription drugs from Canada and permit commercial distributors to obtain them from Canada, Japan, Austria, Switzerland and other European Union nations, … Imported drugs would have to be FDA-approved, manufactured in facilities inspected by the FDA and carry documentation about the chain of custody of the drugs.”
While importing drugs from low cost countries is a sensible means to reduce health care cost without decreasing quality, the Health Affairs blog (“…striking the right balance…“) reports that the government is considering strengthening the FDA’s regulatory authority. Stricter FDA regulation may reduce American’s ability to import pharmaceuticals from other countries or increase the cost of importation.
Overall, however, I believe that loosening pharmaceutical trade restrictions is a step in the right direction.