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Drug reimportation practices in the United States

Authors Monali J Bhosle, Rajesh Balkrishnan

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:3(1) Pages 41—46

Monali J Bhosle, Rajesh Balkrishnan

Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Background: Drug reimportation is perceived as a costs-cutting strategy by Americans. Nonetheless, issues such as drug safety and efficacy prevent legalization of the practice. With the contradictory views from supporters and opponents, debate on drug reimportation continues to snowball. The objective of this commentary is to discuss issues regarding drug reimportation practices in the United States (US). It also examines policy implications and potential solutions of the controversy.

Findings: Comparatively inexpensive drugs available across the border help Americans relieve the burden of medication costs. Consequently, the volume of reimported drugs entering the US has considerably increased. However, these practices are illegal and legalization of drug reimportation is a political debate. While safety is the most important barrier for legalization, this concern does not seem to affect growing number of Americans who are getting their prescriptions filled from across the border. Canadians oppose legalization of reimportation in the US as it could exacerbate the problem of medication shortage in Canada.

Summary: Currently, legalization of dug reimportation has wedged between the arguments by different groups. Until the US government finds a solution to reduce medication costs, it seems to be impossible to stop Americans from buying the comparatively inexpensive medications available across the border.

Keywords: drug reimportation, drug importation, prescription drug costs, drugs from Canada

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