Home > posts > Senate Confirms Trump Nominee and Drug Importation Skeptic Gottlieb as FDA Chief
May 10th, 2017 2:36 pm
Senate Confirms Trump Nominee and Drug Importation Skeptic Gottlieb as FDA Chief
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Yesterday brought good news in the form of Senate confirmation of Trump nominee Scott Gottlieb as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.  In addition to favoring quicker pharmaceutical review and approval, as well as “free-market strategies to bring down drug costs,” The Wall Street Journal notes that Gottlieb brings a healthy skepticism of the ill-advised and potentially dangerous proposal to import drugs from Canada and other countries:

He has also questioned the wisdom of allowing U.S. consumers to import brand-name drugs from countries like Canada, where they cost less, in part because of safety concerns.”

Mr. Gottlieb’s view accords with the opinion of all four of the most recent FDC commissioners, who warned in a recent letter to Congress that suddenly allowing drug importation from Canada or other unsecure countries “is a risky approach that would endanger consumers by exposing them to fake, substandard and contaminated drugs”:

[G]lobal experience confirms that illicit, ineffective, or adulterated products are readily available on the open market and represent one of the most lucrative avenues of organized crime…  Obtaining sufficient resources and expertise to screen and verify the authenticity of every product destined for American consumers presents enormous challenges.”

That also accords with the view of former federal judge and Clinton and Bush FBI Director Louis Freeh, writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Allowing citizens to purchase medicine direct from foreign countries will mean more risk to consumers from counterfeit drugs, more opportunity for criminal activity in the marketplace, and more stresses placed on overstressed law enforcement efforts to combat this problem.  The belief that U.S. consumers can gain access to safe and low-cost medicines from Canadian and European drug markets without an offsetting cost to consumer confidence and law enforcement is not realistic.  Quite the contrary, drug counterfeiting is a global threat that we’re inviting upon ourselves if Congress allows this idea to move forward.”

Drug importation is a deceptive and dangerous idea, particularly in a period of increasing opioid addiction across the country, and Congress shouldn’t make the country more perilous by pushing it.

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