Trump, FDA to consider drug imports

July 20, 2018

As part of an effort to lower the price of prescription meds, the Trump administration is exploring ways to safely import certain drugs from foreign countries.

At the request of Secretary Secretary Alex Azar, the FDA is forming a working group to examine how the U.S. could import drugs from abroad “in the event of a dramatic price increase for a drug produced by one manufacturer and not protected by patents or exclusivities,” said the Department of Health and Human Services. Azar used Daraprim — a drug approved by the FDA in 1953 — as an example, citing its recent 5,000 percent price increase.

Because the drugs being considered for importation are off-patent and have no exclusivity remaining, the proposals contemplated by the working group would not dilute intellectual property rights or affect incentives for innovation, says HHS. Importation will be limited to cases where drugs can be imported with adequate assurances of safety and effectiveness.

Read the HHS statement