Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2009) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Ken Johnson issued the following statement today regarding the worldwide counterfeit threat and prescription drug importation:
“It is critical that we maintain our focus on comprehensive health reform to help all Americans access high-quality and affordable healthcare coverage. We should not pursue policies that could expose Americans to substandard drug products and potentially weaken the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by crippling the Agency’s ability to fulfill its mission in protecting public health and safety.
“The worldwide counterfeit threat is knocking at America’s door and will soon be greeted if prescription drug importation moves forward. For more information about the worldwide counterfeit threat, go to www.buysafedrugs.info.
“Two former Secretaries of the Department of Health and Human Services – Donna Shalala under President Clinton and Tommy Thompson under President Bush – both stated that they could not certify the safety or cost-savings of imported prescription drugs from foreign countries. What’s more, interest in prescription drug importation is waning in part due to the millions of seniors accessing medicines and saving money through the Medicare prescription drug program and consumer weariness in the aftermath of recalled tainted foreign products.
“If the recent recall of foreign products has taught us anything, it is that Congress must better equip and fully fund the FDA so that it has the resources to do its job. The safety and integrity of our nation’s drug supply system will be at even greater risk if prescription drug importation becomes a reality.
“In testimony before Congress last year, PhRMA reiterated that as Congress and the Administration work on ways to strengthen the FDA through increased funding and enhanced tools for overseas inspections. Now is not the time to weaken the Agency by moving forward with prescription drug importation.
“The alarming rate of counterfeit products being manufactured and sold around the world poses great challenges to federal agencies such as FDA and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In fact, public statements by DHS suggest that there has been a significant increase in seizures of counterfeit imports at U.S. borders. For this reason, PhRMA believes that Congress should continue to maintain – not weaken – FDA’s relatively closed drug supply system and also ensure that CBP and FDA have the resources to seize potentially dangerous and counterfeit products at our nation’s borders.
“The counterfeit threat also poses significant challenges to America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, whose lifeblood is the safety and integrity of the products they develop. For all of these reasons, we look forward to continuing our dialogue with Congress and the Administration to help ensure that patient health and safety is protected and to help prevent the proliferation of counterfeit medicines in the U.S.“
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.
PhRMA Internet Address: www.phrma.org
For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: www.pparx.org