Drug Re-Importation Bill: Cheaper Drugs Today, But Fewer Medicines Tomorrow

Contact for Interviews: 

Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273 or Jody Clarke, 202.331.2252

Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003—The vote by the U.S. House to allow the re-importation of drugs from foreign countries spells disaster for the future of pharmaceutical development, charges the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  Below are statements from CEI President Fred L. Smith, Jr. and CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman regarding the serious consequences of the vote.

“The drugs developed by U.S. pharmaceutical companies are in demand around the world, but that means they’re also often at the mercy of governments with socialized medicine systems which have the power to force U.S. companies to sell their products at below-market prices,” explains Smith.  “By re-importing the same drugs back in the U.S., we’re essentially re-importing their entire drug price control system, which would be a disaster.”

“If enacted, this bill will make maintaining a viable drug industry even more difficult, since it is American consumers who end up making possible the development of new drugs for everyone by paying prices high enough to support the research that is required to bring new drugs to the market,” adds Kazman.  “A more effective way to reduce pharmaceutical costs would be to reform FDA’s drug approval process, which weighs heavily the risks of approving a drug ‘too quickly’ but gives little weight to the risks of approving a drug ‘too slowly.’  The result is the drug lag problem, increasing the cost of getting a new medicine to pharmacy shelves.”

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.