Multiple bills that have been circulating through the Congress indicate that the lawmakers are interested in allowing the Americans to import the prescription drugs from Canada and other nations, even though this particular proposal has been strongly criticized by the leading members of the law enforcement community.
Senators John McCain and Amy Klobuchar floated an amendment to the Senate’s budget bill on Wednesday that would allow the bills “relating to lowering the cost of prescription drugs in the United States by importing drugs from Canada.”
McCain and Klobuchar are the coauthors of the “Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act,” which would potentially allow Americans to buy the prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies, with only some restrictions.
Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren talked up a similar bill from Senator Bernie Sanders in a meeting of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, saying, “If the restrictions that prevent purchasers from importing drugs at lower prices from places like Canada were removed. … We’d see some competition and that would lower prices.”
The bill proposed by Sanders – called the “Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act,”- would allow the wholesalers, pharmacies, and other individuals to buy their prescription drugs that were manufactured at the “FDA-inspected facilities” from licensed Canadian sellers. After two years, that permission could be expanded to some countries in the OECD that may meet certain regulatory standards.
The Law enforcement leaders have expressed expressive concerns about the opening importation of prescription drugs from other countries, arguing that it would become easier for drug traffickers, who would be freed from the stringent oversight of the DEA and FDA, to move the drugs across the border and directly into the hands of American nationals.
The National Sheriff’s Association also issued a resolution which marked their formally opposition to any such bills in July. They also noted a 2016 DEA report that had warned of the possibility of the counterfeit prescription drugs, containing more deadly opioid fentanyl that might eventually lead to a spike in opioid-related deaths.
“Drug importation would…worsen the opioid crisis, open up the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain to adulterated and counterfeit drugs, further burden law enforcement, and endanger the safety of officers and other first responders,” the resolution clearly said.
Another report from former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded and agreed with the Sheriffs’ analysis, finding an “overwhelming consensus” among the law and drug enforcement officials that the resolution of allowing the importation of drugs from Canada would eventually “result in increased flow of potentially illegitimate pharmaceutical products entering the U.S. drug supply undetected due to the inability to sufficiently inspect the volume entering the United States.”
Derek Arnson, who spent 25 years as an officer in Arizona said, “There’s always going to be those that say, ‘I have a need for a painkiller, I have a need for these types of drugs,’ and I certainly have a big heart for people who have certain conditions where they need these things. The problem that I’m going to have is, how do we identify where it’s coming in? How do we identify who has it?”
The increased flow of drugs across the border will put a serious burden on already overtaxed law enforcement officers, Arnson had said. “The problem from law enforcement is, our hands are already pretty full with the limited resources that we have and the continued, increased calls for service that we receive each day and each year. It’s more weight on local law enforcement, and that’s difficult.” “[These bills are] going to pretty much kill and decimate the ability for law enforcement to really focus on other things, because now we’re going to be dealing with additional calls, and the unknown,” he concluded.