Presidential candidates Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have reaffirmed their support for allowing Americans to import cheaper prescription drugs from abroad, but both campaigns note that concerns over international drug safety will take precedence in determining this policy, commonly known as drug reimportation.
At a generic pharmaceuticals conference in September, senior advisers to the Obama and McCain campaigns acknowledged that recent incidents with tainted heparin, a blood thinner, and infant formula that were imported into the United States from China illustrate the policy challenges to ensuring drug safety abroad.
“We have not changed our position on this issue, but obviously there have been concerns in countries like China,” Obama campaign adviser Neera Tanden said in an interview. “Our plan does not envision importing drugs from China . . . but from countries with strong records of safety, like Canada and Europe.”
The McCain campaign also confirmed continued support for drug reimportation. Campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said in an e-mail McCain understands the need to have a “properly documented” drug supply chain, and he would insist that all imported drugs “meet state and federal standards for safety.” Rogers also noted that additional Food and Drug Administration funding would be needed to secure imported drugs.
This is an excerpt from an October 27 article in Congressional Quarterly by Meghan McCarthy.