WASHINGTONA second Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Tommy G. Thompson, has refused to allow the reimporting of US-made prescription drugs back into the country. Former HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala made the same determination last December.
Under the Medicine Equity and Drug Safety (MEDS) Act, signed into law last year, US-made prescription drugs exported to certain foreign nations could be reimported for sale to US consumers. US medications sell for less abroad, and the law’s intent was that reimported drugs would be sold at below normal prices.
MEDS included a provision that required the HHS Secretary to determine that, if reimportation occurred, the United States could maintain adequate safety and prices could be expected to be reduced. Mr. Thompson found that would not be the case.
"Opening our borders as required under this program would increase the likelihood that the shelves of pharmacies across the nation would include counterfeit drugs, cheap foreign copies of FDA-approved drugs, expired drugs, contaminated drugs, and drugs stored under inappropriate and unsafe conditions," the Secretary said in a letter to Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt).