Adulterated Pharmaceuticals Pose Huge Risks

Reimportation Of Drugs Looks Scarier And Scarier

Statement By 60 Plus Association President Jim Martin

Arlington, VA – Recent radio, TV and newspaper accounts only lend credibility to what the 60 Plus Association has been saying for more than two years now: drugs that enter the United States from outside our borders and without the strict regulation of our Food and Drug Administration cannot be trusted.

It seems fake drugs have been showing up in U.S. pharmacies and have all the earmarks of becoming a black market activity that could rival other forms of illicit profiteering at the expense of American citizenry — in particular, senior citizens.

One pharmacist quoted this morning said, “I’ve been in this business for 40 years. I have less confidence in the supply line than ever before.”

The 60 Plus Association has been out in front of this issue and for what we believe to be all the right reasons. We’ve even absorbed heat from our own members, some of who believe we’re on the wrong side of the issue. We’re not, and reports from this investigation bear that out.

Drugs reimported into the United States from Canada, Mexico, Australia or anywhere else, drugs without the opportunity to go through the formal test and inspection of the Food and Drug Administration, hold frightening possibilities for tampering in this day and age of global terrorism. Indeed, it would not be a far stretch to imagine anthrax-laced counterfeit drugs being shipped across our borders.

Here’s what must be considered:

Fake drug contents.

Mislabeled drug bottles and packages.

Mishandled shipments of drug supplies.

Who’s to say your Procrit is truly Procrit? Who’s to say your little purple pill is as purple as it ought to be? Who’s to say what you’re inhaling is actually what’s printed on the label? Talk about an accident waiting to happen!

The 60 Plus Association knows that the cost for prescription drugs is a major budgetary consideration for millions of Americans, in particular, those on fixed incomes. But we believe working to solve the burden of these drug costs ought to be taken up from within the United States, not from without. That’s why we’re working with Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill to craft legislation that will address the concerns of drug makers, physicians, patients, hospitals and the like. What should not be done, however, is for people to become reliant upon cheaper drugs that may be had from other countries, brought illegally into the United States because they happen to be less expensive.

The same applies within our borders. Middlemen and resellers right here within the U.S. already travel drugs from state to state to state, marking the circuitous route these medications must travel from manufacturer to distributor to pharmacy to patient. Imagine now the extra leap of faith one must have for drugs coming across our borders from Quebec, Calcutta or Tijuana. This is an easy reminder that the prescription one fills could be a prescription for tragedy.

Our country rightfully boasts the safest drugs and the safest drug supply links in the world. But there’s room for improvement and there’s certainly a requirement for the FDA to get tougher with anyone who conspires to introduce counterfeit drugs into the marketplace, whether from within or without the country.

The 60 Plus Association cautions, “Buyer Beware.” At the same time, we will continue to press for legislation that facilitates greater oversight from state and federal regulators while working to support reasonable measures for drug costs, such as those proposed in the President’s call for health care and Medicare reform.