IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – In an effort to lower the cost of prescription drugs, the Trump administration proposed a plan to make it easier to import cheaper drugs from Canada, but the pharmaceutical industry said the plan could put American patients in danger.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday, states, wholesalers and pharmacies can now submit plans on how they would safely import certain medications from Canada.
“We think there’s a real opportunity here where they can manage bringing drugs into the U.S. from Canada in a way that does preserve the safety of the American system,” Azar said.
Las Colinas pharmacist Jim Hrncir, RPh., said he believes the proposal would “rock the boat” for the pharmaceutical industry. “We have to change something,” he said “It has to start somewhere because if you don’t change anything, nothing changes.”
Hrncir said he would be in favor of the plan if it meant fewer of his patients would have to ration their medication because they unable to afford the full recommended dosage.
However, the head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America issued a statement calling the administration’s importation plan a scheme that is, “far too dangerous for American patients.”
PhRMA president and CEO Stephen J. Ubl said, “There is no way to guarantee the safety of drugs that come into the country from outside the United States’ gold-standard supply chain. Drugs coming through Canada could have originated from anywhere in the world and may not have undergone stringent review by the FDA.“
Supporters of the plan disagree and insist drugs can be imported safely with new technology.
Hrncir said, “The manufactures are trying to scare people because they want things to stay exactly the way they are.”
In a recent survey by the Kaiser Foundation, 80% of Americans said they support importing prescription drugs.