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Background on Importation/Reimportation of Prescription Medications

Importation and reimportation of prescription medications are under consideration as a means of alleviating the problem of high prescription drug costs, but there are concerns that pharmaceuticals obtained from foreign countries are not safe.

The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 indicates that the only country from which prescription medications can be imported/reimported is Canada; however, imported/reimported pharmaceuticals must be certified as safe by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

A special task force created by NAMI’s Policy Research Institute examined several issues around the importation/reimportation of mdications. NAMI’s policy is that due to safety and quality considerations raised by the FDA, at this time, only medications from Canada should be reimported and that medications must be certified for their safety by HHS.  Click here to read the Task Force Report on Importation/Reimportation of Prescription Medications (pdf, 144kb).

NAMI will closely monitor the recently named FDA Task Force on Importation, and based on the FDA’s analysis and recommendations, NAMI will reexamine its positions on importation/reimportation to determine if any changes in policy are necessary.


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