Prescription Health Care Essay

1552 words - 6 pages

The cost of prescription drugs in America has risen to the level that most Americans could not afford them with out the help of an insurance plan. The greedy and capitalistic pharmaceutical companies rely on the United States to fund the future development of drugs with skyrocketing prices and enormous margins. Recently the issue has extended into the mainstream political arena, thanks in part to the new Medicare bill(2). With the push by congress for the importation of drugs from foreign sources, regardless of the potential long and short term consequences, the time to vocally support health care reform is upon the American public.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates every substance intended for human consumption, with the exception, to a degree, of alcohol. This includes prescription drugs and more recently dietary supplements. When the FDA receives a New Drug Application or NDA, they begin a massive investigation to the drugs effectiveness and the potential side effects and health risks it could impose on the patient. What many Americans are not aware of are the numerous visits to the facility where the drug is actually manufactured(5). When the FDA inspects a facility, they check four major categories related directly to the medication manufactured for human consumption; consistency, purity, potency, and labeling. The FDA has a valid and strong argument against the importation of Canadian drugs, citing "There is no possible way to prevent counterfeit or mislabeled and potentially deadly substances from reaching the consumer."(3) this according to Dave Griffith of the FDA during a telephone interview. The terms importation and re-importation are similar however slightly different. Importation implies obtaining drugs from any source other than United States, or FDA approved manufacturers. Where re-importation suggests the drugs were sold to a foreign country such as Canada and then re-imported via mail or direct purchase. In this situation the drugs were originally manufactured in the United States or an FDA approved facility. The danger to the end user or patient is simply not knowing where the drugs came from to begin with. This is where the FDA feels the patient could ingest either weak, over potent or counterfeit drugs with potentially deadly side effects. Many on-line Canadian pharmacies have actual drugs imported from U.S. sources and some do not. As long as the consumer can find a reputable and licensed Canadian pharmacy that has a strong Internet presence there is no real danger of impure or counterfeit drugs(2). Several top FDA officials have testified to Congress regarding the importation of drugs from foreign sources. Their conclusion has been consistently, the burden this would place on the director of the FDA would be unfair(4). The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CIDER) has attempted to evaluate the potential for regulation of such drugs, with the conclusion that regulation would be extremely costly...

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