NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 23, 2004

Imported drugs are not the same as U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medicines and there is evidence that these drugs are dangerous, says William Hubbard, associate commissioner of the FDA.

At mail facilities across the country the FDA is identifying drugs arriving from unreliable sources in such places as the Bahamas and Pakistan; drugs from untruthful Web sites -- one registered in China selling bad drugs shipped from Belize but identified as Canadian; counterfeits from India shipped in Tupperware; drug warnings printed in foreign languages; drugs shipped from country to country masking their true source; and controlled substances ordered online to bypass doctors and prescriptions.


  • In Oregon, a woman with breast cancer ordered Tamoxifen from a Canadian pharmacy and became very ill when she was mailed an unapproved hypertension medication labeled as her cancer treatment.
  • In states with new programs to import drugs, evidence shows safety problems with foreign pharmacies outside our reach.
  • A study of Wisconsin's program recently found that 35 percent of the foreign drugs coming into the state were unapproved or in violation.

Meanwhile, these governments and foreign pharmacies assume no responsibility for the safety of the drugs they provide. With everything we already know about the foreign drugs flowing into this country, the FDA continues to see importation as an unwise bargain with your health, says Hubbard.

Source: William Hubbard, "Risk are too High," USA Today, August 23, 2004.


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