Drug Reimportation: Prescription, Placebo, or Poison?
Thierault, Rene J.
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CitationDrug Reimportation: Prescription, Placebo, or Poison? (2002 Third Year Paper)
AbstractThis paper examines drug reimportation as a means of reducing prescription drug prices paid by U.S. consumers. Specifically, this paper examines the provisions of the MEDS Act of 2000, which was passed by Congress right before the 2000 election. The purpose of the legislation is to allow pharmacists and wholesalers to import drugs from countries that sell them for less than in the United States (often due to price controls), and to pass those savings on to the consumers, perhaps remaining as a permanent check on pharmaceutical prices. Two Secretaries of Health and Human Services have since declined to implement the legislation, however, due to concerns for the safety risks of U.S. consumers, and concerns that consumers would not realize significant savings. This paper will examine the safety and cost saving concerns raised by the Secretaries of HHS. Regarding safety, this paper concludes that the MEDS Act significantly loosens the protections of the Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA), and would undermine the safety and effectiveness of the U.S. drug supply, particularly in light of ongoing concerns regarding bioterrorism, counterfeiting and diversion. Regarding prices, this paper examines the economics behind pricing in the pharmaceutical industry and concludes that drug reimportation would not provide significant cost savings to U.S. consumers, and could have a number of unintended consequences. Overall, this paper concludes that drug reimportation is an unsound policy, both due to economic and safety concerns.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:8846805
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