Drug reimportation into the U.S. is gathering steam in Congress. But an act of Congress isn't needed to make it happen.
A trio of senators this week reminded Tom Price, the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that he has only to say the word and then the FDA can exercise the authority it already has to allow pharmacists and wholesale retailers to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. The agency also could grant waivers permitting individual patients to import drugs for personal use.
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) urged Price to use the leeway granted him under the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act to address drastic price increases by opening the door to reimportation. Under the law, Price would have to certify that the import would impose no additional risk to patients' health and safety and that it would result in