NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Making The World Safe For Rx.com

August 20, 2010

A recent survey from Pew Trusts shows that Americans are worried about foreign-made drugs.  Notably, 70 percent were worried about Chinese products and 54 percent were worried about Indian products. 

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) has introduced legislation that he believes will improve safety: 

  • One of the steps that the new legislation will require is demanding entry for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection for any producer exporting to the United States.
  • It will mean hiring hundreds more FDA inspectors to be placed in developing nations in order to be able to inspect plants more than once every two years.
  • Another provision of the legislation will be unspecified but increased protection of whistleblowers.  

Let's assume for a second that the Sen. Bennet's proposal does what it says it will and lowers the chance of bad drugs getting into the legitimate supply chain.  Before this enters into law, a critical analysis of the legislation should determine the impact on drug price and safety, says Roger Bate, the Legatum Fellow in Global Prosperity at the American Enterprise Institute: 

  • It is possible that companies, in the United States and abroad, will simply absorb the extra costs of these regulations.
  • It is also possible that if drugs become more expensive, then insurers and the U.S. government will cover the excess (in which case the taxpayer will cover the costs of these regulations).
  • But neither of these options will probably be complete or universal in application, which means reduced access to medicines.  

Furthermore, for the uninsured or underinsured, more expensive medicines will create even greater incentive to access medicines from less regulated sources, says Bate. 

But there may be some good news.  According to his own peer-reviewed and published study, buying foreign-made drugs over the Internet from foreign Web pharmacies is relatively safe as long as one chooses to buy from licensed pharmacies approved by credentialing agency pharmacychecker.com, says Bate. 

Source: Roger Bate, "Making the World Safe for Rx.com," The American, August 12, 2010. 

For text:

http://www.american.com/archive/2010/august/making-the-world-safe-for-rx.com  

For Bate study:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012199 

 

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