Nice to see the FDA working for Big Pharma

There really is no other way to describe this outright lie on the federal Food and Drug Administration Web site that a reader just found:

Is it legal for me to personally import drugs?

In most circumstances, it is illegal for individuals to import drugs into the United States for personal use. This is because drugs from other countries that are available for purchase by individuals often have not been approved by FDA for use and sale in the United States. For example, if a drug is approved by Health Canada (FDA’s counterpart in Canada) but has not been approved by FDA, it is an unapproved drug in the United States and, therefore, illegal to import. FDA cannot ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs that it has not approved.

FDA, however, has a policy explaining that it typically does not object to personal imports of drugs that FDA has not approved under certain circumstances, including the following situation:

The drug is for use for a serious condition for which effective treatment is not available in the United States;

There is no commercialization or promotion of the drug to U.S. residents;

The drug is considered not to represent an unreasonable risk;

The individual importing the drug verifies in writing that it is for his or her own use, and provides contact information for the doctor providing treatment or shows the product is for the continuation of treatment begun in a foreign country; and

Generally, not more than a 3-month supply of the drug is imported.

Excuse me, but I’ve been traveling to France for years and they have THE SAME EXACT DRUGS MADE BY THE SAME EXACT PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES SELLING FOR 1/3 TO 1/5 THE COST THEY CHARGE AMERICANS FOR THE EXACT SAME THING.  Period.  Advair, sold in both countries by same company, is 1/5 the cost in France.  Singulair, 1/4 the price.  Pulmicort, 1/3.

These aren’t crazy knock-off drugs from Timbuktu.  They aren’t stolen formulas being reproduced in the developing world.  They’re drugs made by the same companies, often sold under the same names, and those same companies agree to sell the same drugs for significantly less in Europe because they know they can make up the difference, and then some, by gouging Americans at home (I have been told this by numerous sources on the inside).

We are subsidizing low drug prices in Europe in order to pad the profits of American drug companies.  You are paying what amounts to a tax on your prescription drug purchases in order to help Europeans buy cheaper drugs. How do you like them apples?

The FDA doesn’t tell you any of that.  They don’t tell you that one of the main reasons you can’t buy cheaper drugs in Europe and Canada and bring them home is because the FDA is in cahoots with Big Pharma in order to line the pockets of Big Pharma at the expense of every day Americans.  Funny how that never made it into their cute little “explanation” as to why they don’t want you buying cheaper drugs abroad.

It’s is beyond offensive – I’d dare say criminal – that the FDA of a Democratic administration is spouting GOP pro-Pharma propaganda.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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