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Drug importation: limitations of current proposals and opportunities for improvement
Blood Cancer Journal  (IF11.037),  Pub Date : 2021-07-15, DOI: 10.1038/s41408-021-00522-3
Caleb J. Scheckel, S. Vincent Rajkumar

Drug importation is a policy proposal to help alleviate rising pharmaceutical prices. Restrictions on drug importation stem from the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act but authorization of importation can be made by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary. During the Trump administration a number of states passed laws to develop a drug importation programs, however, none have been authorized by HHS. Limitations of these importation programs include sole reliance on Canada, exclusion of high-cost drugs like biologics, and persistent legal hazard of the Personal Importation Program. Potential revisions to current law include expansion of countries approved for importation, inclusion of biologics, and codifying protection for personal importation. Drug importation policies are not a panacea to address rising pharmaceutical prices but may blunt prices while more permanent solutions are pursued.