The window for public comments on the FDA’s notice on proposed rulemaking about drug importation under Section 804 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is closing on Monday March 9th – and I’m not done writing! So, this post will be short and sweet but highly relevant. Of course, lower drug prices in foreign countries are on my mind today – as they often are. And they were also on the minds of the truth-sleuth masters over at Politifact yesterday. The title gives away the answer already so go take a look at how Politifact checks out U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore’s (D-WI) statement: “Prescription drug companies are charging Americans prices that are on average 4x higher than what’s charged in other countries.” Or read on for the super quick explanation.
Rep. Moore’s claim that drug companies charge Americans four times more is fair game, but not precise enough to be entirely true. Very simply, Rep. Moore was looking to the data from the House Ways and Means Committee Report from last year. That report analyzed prices of 79 drugs that comprise 60% of drug spending in Medicare, comparing prices among 11 high-income countries with the U.S. Sure enough prices were 3.7 times higher here.
As a follow-up to that report last fall, PharmacyChecker looked at the prices of many of those same drugs among safe international online pharmacies and found similar price discrepancies. Americans choose to access those lower prices right now, despite federal restrictions on importation. In my forthcoming public comments, I’ll present some ideas for the FDA to more proactively help Americans afford medicine while protecting them from unreasonable risks through Section 804. Gotta get to it.
Wash your hands.Tagged with: Congressional House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Gwen Moore