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Drug import proposal under fire

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has expressed concerns with a proposed amendment to health care legislation because the provision would authorize the importation of prescription drugs.

NACDS sent a letter to Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D., N.Y.), who chairs the House Rules Committee, and to Rep. David Drier (R., Cal­if.), ranking member of the panel, explaining its opposition to Rep. Jo Ann Emerson’s (R., Mo.) proposed importation amendment to H.R. 3962, The Affordable Health Care for America Act.

Although NACDS supports the goal of reducing prescription drug costs, it believes importation would put patients’ and consumers’ health and safety at risk, minimize the role of pharmacists in the dispensing of medication and counseling of patients, and adversely disrupt patient care and service.

The trade organization has urged Congress to consider broadening pharmacist-provided medication therapy management services and better incentivize the use of generic drugs to help reduce drug costs.

“In addition to concerns about the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs, individuals who obtain medications through personal importation are less likely to benefit from the professional services of their local licensed pharmacists,” the letter states. “We fear they would lose access to qualified licensed pharmacists to consult with them about the safe and effective use of medications.

“With the huge costs associated with prescription drug nonadherence and misuse, it is more important than ever that health care policies foster relationships between patients and pharmacists.”


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