Prescription Drug Importation – Protecting the US Drug Supply Chain
Caroline D. Juran, BSPharm, DPh (Hon)
Following the final rule approved by Trump Administration and published by Food and Drug Administration in 2020, states can now submit proposals to establish their own wholesale prescription drug importation program from Canada. While NABP understands the desire to decrease the costs of prescription drugs, states may face challenges while ensuring patient safety and securing the global supply chain. Increasing efforts to support the boards of pharmacy and to educate and protect the public about state drug importation plans is a key focus and the presidential initiative of NABP President Juran.
There are three areas of focus for the initiative:
- providing guidance to state and federal governments and other policy makers on the risks associated with prescription drug importation and the necessary regulatory oversight process to help mitigate those risks;
- working with state and federal regulators to implement the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), including providing education and other tools to regulators and supply chain participants to assist in implementation; and
- educating the public about the risks associated with purchasing prescription drugs from unknown sources online and through social media.
Task Force Updates
President Juran has appointed a task force that will meet later this year. Make sure to check back for updates.
Increasing awareness about state importation programs is necessary to maintain patient safety. More information about prescription drug importation can be found in the below resources.
- Department of Health and Human Services and Food and Drug Administration released the Safe Importation Action Plan describing the two pathways for lower cost medications for patients.
- FDA published a guidance for industry that outlines requirements to import biological products.
- FDA released a financial impact analysis report about the final rule.
- United States Pharmacopeia (USP) provides resources including a supply chain map to help strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain and reduce risk.
- NABP’s 2020 and 2019 Rogue Rx Reports detail how illegal online pharmacies prey on consumers.
- NABP released a statement on the prescription drug importation proposals in February 2019.
- In February 2017, NABP sent a letter to Congress regarding Canadian online pharmacies.
Looking for more information?
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Looking for NABP Chairperson Tim Fensky’s 2020-2021 initiative? Visit the Medication-Assisted Treatment page.