Citizens Against Government Waste Rejects HHS Plan on Foreign Drug Importation | Citizens Against Government Waste

Citizens Against Government Waste Rejects HHS Plan on Foreign Drug Importation

Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ally Abrams 202-467-5310

July 31, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz issued a statement regarding the Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) proposal to allow the importation of drugs originally intended for sale in foreign countries.

The HHS rulemaking would:

  • Create two pathways to allow “safe” importation of drugs from other countries.
  • Allow the states, wholesalers, or pharmacists to develop pilot projects to facilitate the importation of certain drugs from Canada.
  • Allow drug manufacturers to reroute certain versions of FDA-approved drugs , originally sold in foreign markets, back into the U.S. at a lower price.

The statement reads:

“No HHS Secretary or Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under either party has ever confirmed that importing pharmaceuticals would keep Americans safe from dangerous counterfeit drugs, including the opioids that have caused so much destruction across our country.  Indeed, both President Trump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressed their objections to this concept in 2018.  The President said in October that ‘we don’t like getting [drugs] from other countries’ because ‘we don’t know … how they’re being made.’ Secretary Azar said in May 2018 that ‘importing drugs from other countries, such as Canada … is a gimmick,’ citing the miniscule savings calculated by the Congressional Budget Office.  The HHS proposal would expose Americans to potentially adulterated drugs and encourage unscrupulous actors to get more involved in drug importation.  It would hurt U.S. biopharmaceutical research and development.  The plan also ignores Canadian warnings that the country has no interest in supplying Americans with their drugs, citing concerns over shortages.  Instead of pursuing this ineffective and potentially dangerous policy, the administration should work with Congress to increase free market incentives and competition in public-sector drug benefit plans, speed up generic drug approvals, modernize clinical trial designs to encourage competition, and write better trade deals to ensure foreign countries pay a fair share of U.S.-funded biopharmaceutical research and development, rather than free-riding on our discoveries.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  


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