NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Drug Importation and Controlled Narcotics

October 28, 2003

The purchase of drugs without a prescription via the Internet, particularly narcotics, is exploding. It is one of the fastest-growing parts of the prescription drug business and the most profitable, because most the drugs sold by fly-by- night operations are diverted or stolen. And it will be easier to score narcotics if drug importation is approved, says Robert Goldberg, director of the Manhattan Institute's Center for Medical Progress.

According to Goldberg:

  • The importation bill strips the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the authority to monitor the safety of the products coming into the country or being sold.
  • The illegal trade in prescription drugs -- increasingly hard to detect look-alikes, tainted products and stolen goods -- is already growing despite stepped-up efforts by the FDA and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  • The bill virtually assures that the United States will be flooded with questionable medicines from a wide array of exporters.
  • Packaging is easier to replicate than the drugs themselves.
  • The bill simply expands the personal use exemption for importing drugs -- the same loophole that fueled most of the growth in drug imports in the first place.

Source: Robert Goldberg, "Importation nightmare," Washington Times, October 28, 2003.


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