A group of over 50 healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses and physician assistants, have come together to demand the federal government stop any action that would restrict access to lifesaving medications through personal prescription importation.
In a letter sent to President Donald Trump, members of Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the healthcare providers expressed their alarm over FDA’s action in Florida against offices that primarily serve older Americans who prefer in-person assistance with purchasing medications from Canada and other countries, rather than using an internet site. Last year, FDA agents armed with search warrants notified the office owners that importing drugs is illegal and those who help “administer” such drugs could face fines or jail time. Yet, according to its owners, these offices do not dispense or administer medication to patients.
The soaring cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. poses a real threat to the health of millions of Americans. In 2016, 45 million Americans did not fill their prescription due to cost. One in four Americans are forced to choose between the medication they need and a necessity like food or housing costs.
Despite federal restrictions, millions of Americans have imported their medications as a way to lower their prescription drug costs. Any federal action to reverse the longstanding “non-enforcement” policy against personal importation is a detriment to the health and well-being of millions of patients who rely on this lifeline of affordable medications.
With doctors, nurses and physician assistants speaking up to protect their patients’ access to more affordable imported medication, the FDA should respect that safe personal drug importation is real and it’s a boon to the public’s health.