States consider laws to allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from other countries


Some lawmakers say a way to combat high prescription drug prices is to allow individual Americans to buy and import drugs from Canada or Mexico.

Around the country, many Americans struggle with the high costs of medicines, often having to choose between buying groceries or medications.

Texas, Florida, Oregon, and Colorado are considering state laws to allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from other countries.

Leigh Purvis with AARP says the idea has come up before but this time it has wide support.

“Prescription drug prices and price trends really have gotten to a tipping point, in the sense that everyone is upset about them,” says Leigh Purvis, AARP director of health services research.

“There’s too much price gouging going on,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), who is working on federal legislation.  “And big pharma is inflicting big pain.

Although it’s not legal, Americans already buy drugs online from other countries. Former FBI director Louis Freeh says some important medications are counterfeit and even laced with dangerous ingredients.

Freeh thinks the state plans are too lax. “Allow foreign-made medicines to come into the united states, really without any checks or balances,” Freeh said.

But states say they will work with the federal government to ensure imported drugs meet FDA regulations.

The department of health and human services would have to sign off on any state laws.

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