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No HELP

2017-05-09 | Peter Pitts
It’s disappointing to say the least when our fine elected representatives place scoring transient political points in front of advancing the public health.

Such is always the case with the perennial non-starter issue of drug importation. What makes it even more dangerous this time is how it could delay swift and clean PDUFA approval.

Front and center is Senator Bernie Sanders. His two PDUFA amendments won’t lower drug prices or increase access for any Americans. But they would negatively impact safety and undercut intellectual property protection.

Let’s cut right to the chase. Generic drugs (85% + of all medicines volume in the US are LESS expensive than in Canada or any European country. Next, for the overwhelming number of Americans with private health insurance, the co-pays for their products are LESS expensive then buying them retail at either a brick-and-mortar of Internet Canadian pharmacy. Biologics? 85% of all biologics are administered in hospitals. Is Senator Sanders suggesting that American hospitals should import drugs that may or may not have been shipped under proper refrigeration conditions? FDA inspections speak otherwise.

So just what is Senator Sanders trying to accomplish? Certainly not a clean PDUFA – which is just what the doctor ordered for the FDA’s Gottlieb Era reforms -- including programs to help lower drig prices by expediting single sourcwe generic reviews.

He certainly doesn’t seem to be interested in safety concerns. Or counterfeits. Or cold-chain control. Or even that every study by the Congressional Budget Office reiterates over and over again that such schemes don’t save the American consumer any money.

But is sure is good for headlines. For shame.