Foreign Pharmacies Dispensing to US Patients
Legislation is currently being initiated which would actually allow for the dispensing of prescription drugs and medications from a licensed foreign pharmacy to patients in the US. With the massive debate currently under way in Washington regarding the health care repeal legislation, there will obviously be numerous amendments that are going to be presented on various health care matters that are focused on pharmacy. The cost of pharmaceuticals and the ever increasing cost associated with prescriptions and medications are placing pharmacy in the “center of the target” when it comes to regulations aimed at health care cost reduction. One such proposed amendment being considered is a provision in S. 469 which would allow for the dispensing of drugs from a licensed foreign pharmacy to patients here in the U.S.
S.469 – Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act
Sponsored by Senator Bernard Sanders form Vermont, S.469 was introduced in February earlier this year. It has since been reviewed twice and now referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Basically, Senator Sanders and several other Senators are pushing this legislation (or “repeal bill”) to allow foreign pharmacies and offshore wholesale pharmaceutical distributors to provide prescription drugs to patients in the United States. The foreign pharmacies aren’t even required to have U.S. pharmacy licenses, nor U.S. licensed pharmacists or registered pharmacy technicians. Additionally, no inspections are required and no means of evaluating the pharmacies’ safety are included in the legislation as it now stands. Furthermore, if they dispense the wrong drug or counterfeit medications to US citizens, it will be virtually impossible to discipline them because their staff and assets are all beyond U.S. borders, regulation and controls. As we all know, here in the US all pharmacies and pharmacy staff are regulated and licensed by the Department of Health and the Board of Pharmacy in each state to protect every patient’s safety. Additionally, federal regulatory agencies such as the FDA and DEA ensure that patient safety is of the utmost importance. Allowing pharmacies in other countries that cannot be disciplined to dispense medications to patients here in the USA is clearly dangerous to a patient’s safety. There would be virtually no control and little oversight over the use of unlicensed personnel or unapproved and untested products.
Florida Pharmacy Association Says: Take Action!
Kudos to the FPA (Florida Pharmacy Association) who contacted all of it’s members this week in an effort to stop this bill from passing. The FPA encouraged all of it’s membership to contact Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Florida Senator Marco Rubio to raise concerns over such a proposal. The FPA House of Delegates wants to make it clear to Washington that it is unable to support such a change and that the results will be detrimental and present a major danger to patient safety.
HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing is headquartered in Central Florida and involved nationally in pharmacy consulting and staffing for over 28 years now. We agree with the FPA’s call to take action and would recommend visiting their site where they have prepared an “Action Alert” for Florida pharmacists with a sample message and instructions. As always, HCC welcomes any feedback and will answer any questions that you may have on this topic (or on any others!). HCC is owned and operated by pharmacists and we provide proven expertise and experience in all facets of pharmacy operations, including retail, hospital and all specialty pharmacy venues. Contact us online or call us today at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help you.