Published on: September 23, 2004Maryland’s Montgomery County Council has joined with other municipalities and states in deciding that county benefits managers should purchase prescription drugs from Canada if their bids come in lower than those from US companies.
Ironically, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has opposed the so-called reimportation of prescription medicines from Canada and other countries for safety reasons, is based in Montgomery County. Current law prohibits obtaining drugs from abroad, but Congress is considering legislation that would change the law, and the FDA has been reluctant to prosecute states and municipalities that pursue a reimportation policy.
However, the FDA has said that if drugs obtained outside the US are harmful to a private citizen, the legislators who approve reimportation could be held culpable.
The county currently spends about $70 million a year on prescription drugs, but believes that the savings from obtaining drugs from Canada could be as high as $16 million.
- KC's View:
- As always, the real issue is being ignored by the FDA. It isn’t whether Canadian drugs are safe, but why US health care costs are so high.
If FDA is going to hold legislators responsible if someone is hurt by a Canadian drug, doesn’t it then make sense that FDA should be held responsible if someone gets sick or dies because American medicine is so expensive that the afflicted person can’t afford it?