The Global Pharmaceutical Supply Chain and Prospects for Safe Drug Importation
Written by Gabriel Levitt, MA, with Lucia Mueller
Foreword by Stephen Salant, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Michigan
Many consumer products clearly state where those products are made. Not so for prescription medications. Where our drugs are made and where their main ingredients are sourced affects drug safety, affordability, availability, and even national security — concerns that have come to the fore as a result of the global pandemic. Yet there is too little transparency and too much misinformation surrounding the supply chain of the drugs we take. “Not Made in the USA” investigates and details the country of manufacture and the source country for active pharmaceutical ingredients among widely used, brand name prescription drugs.
Generic medications that have been approved by the FDA are still not available in the U.S. These same medications are available and affordable to order from abroad.
Written by Gabriel Levitt, MA | Shivam Patel, PharmD, BSPS, RPh | Lucia Mueller
Faster generic drug approvals are often looked to as a key part of the solution to high drug prices. Clearly, the faster a patented drug product faces competition, access to lower cost versions should follow. Yet FDA approval of a generic neither ensures its availability nor affordability. In fact, newly approved generic drugs in the U.S. are sometimes not available on the market for years after their approval; and those that are available can cost over eight times more than the lawfully-manufactured brand versions sold in Canada, and ten times more than those offered in other countries.
Ill-Considered Enforcement Prevents Access to Safe and Affordable Medication
Written by Gabriel Levitt
A GAO report entitled “Internet Pharmacies: Federal Agencies and States Face Challenges Combatting Rogue Sites, Particularly Those Abroad,” contains critical inaccuracies and omits important peer-reviewed research that could lead lawmakers and their staff to draw erroneous conclusions about international online pharmacies, potentially resulting in unnecessary enforcement actions that disadvantage consumers and threaten the public health. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about five million Americans buy prescription drugs from foreign sources each year for reasons of cost. The evidence provided herein, including consumer testimonials and empirical data, shows that safe international online pharmacies are lifelines of affordable medication for many Americans. While rogue pharmacy sites can be very dangerous, overly broad, and ill-considered Federal enforcement against safe international online pharmacies will lead to fewer Americans taking prescribed medication.
Monthly reports on the subjects of international drug price comparisons and the origin of U.S.-sold prescription medication.
PharmacyChecker Research releases price reports monthly. Past topics of research include "Foreign Drugs Make Up Majority of Medicare Part D Spending on Specialty Drugs," "The Top 10 Prescription Drugs You Should Not Get in Canada," and "Savings from Canadian Online Pharmacies Increase from 68% to 77% Due to U.S. Drug Price Hikes."