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Two Senate Leaders, Finance Committee Members Issue Warning

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Drug Reimportation Not Safe, Won’t Work, Say Senators Kyl and Santorum

Two Senate Leaders, Finance Committee Members Issue Warning

HUMAN EVENTS received the following this afternoon:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, and Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today issued the following joint statement in response to the release of two prescription drug importation reports by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services (HHS):

?¢â??¬???Today?¢â??¬â??¢s reports conclusively reject any lingering hope that the individual importation of pharmaceuticals is – or can be made – safe and reliable for personal use. There is simply no amount of resources that can guarantee that the content and quality of foreign prescription drugs purchased via the Internet, mail order, or other such means are safe for patients to consume.

?¢â??¬???Furthermore, these studies conclude that creating a system for commercial importation that upholds traditional standards of safety and quality would be enormously expensive, substantially reducing any cost savings to the consumer. Any remaining savings would likely be captured by middlemen, such as wholesalers and distributors – not by patients.

?¢â??¬???These findings are not surprising. The HHS report confirms both previous administrations?¢â??¬â??¢ conclusions and the essence of a wide range of testimony before numerous Congressional committees that the safety and efficacy of drugs imported from foreign countries – including those purportedly from Canada – cannot be guaranteed. Counterfeit and adulterated pharmaceuticals have appeared even in our domestic supply chain, which is the safest in the world. Clearly now is not the time to open that system to imports that are exponentially more vulnerable to tampering.

?¢â??¬???It is true that the Department of Commerce study found significant price differentials between the United States and other OECD countries for specific products. However, this finding does not reflect key factors that dramatically reduce the cost of prescription drugs for many Americans, including unparalleled access to generic equivalents as well as savings from the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. Moreover, countries in which government price controls force prescription drug prices below true market value adversely impact their patients by forcing them to contend with limited access to the newest, most cutting-edge products. Few Americans would find this form of rationing acceptable.

?¢â??¬???Today?¢â??¬â??¢s miracle medicines save lives previously considered lost, and they reduce the need for expensive medical procedures that often require hospitalization. As today?¢â??¬â??¢s reports confirm, importation would stifle the robust pharmaceutical research and development that is working toward the next generation of life-saving drugs for today?¢â??¬â??¢s and tomorrow?¢â??¬â??¢s patients. There must be a reasonable return on investment, or investment simply won?¢â??¬â??¢t occur. We should be adopting policies that enhance this progress, not racing toward the status of lowest common denominator and eliminating incentives for such research. Doing so would not only slam the brakes on the pace of medical progress, but also cost jobs and economic growth.?¢â??¬ 

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