Deadly Discounts: How Reimportation Jeopardizes the Safety of the U.S. Pharmaceutical Drug Supply under the Federal Trade Commission Amendment


The amendment to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reauthorization bill, previously introduced as Senate Bill 334 (S.334) Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2005 allows for the reimportation of prescription drugs into the United States from approximately 25 countries, including Canada via Internet pharmacies. There are no guarantees that the internet websites advertising as Canadian pharmacies are legitimate. The shipping of pharmaceutical drugs occurs through importation, which refers to drugs produced abroad then later shipped to the U.S., or re-importation, a term applied when drugs are produced in the U.S. and exported for sale to foreign countries and later imported back into the U.S.

The amendment attempts to open the border doors even further by allowing increased importation of medicine and requires pharmacies and drug wholesalers to register with the FDA. The potential importers will be subject to frequent, random inspection; however, these inspections are inadequate and more must be done. Some real solutions include electronic pedigrees and authentication technologies. Also, technology must be rotated so that illegitimate manufacturers can not adapt and overcome anti-counterfeiting measures.


Antitrust and Trade Regulation | Food and Drug Law | Health Law and Policy | International Trade Law | Legislation | Science and Technology Law

Date of this Version

October 2005