Valisure is a U.S. online pharmacy that actually tests the quality of medication it sends to patients and apparently, to my delight, they support drug importation as a policy to lower costs. Pretty cool.
When people go online or to their local Walgreens to buy prescription drugs domestically, they are largely relying on the regulatory strength of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make sure those drugs will work as directed by their prescribers. While the FDA is known as a top drug regulator, for all intents and purposes, Valisure is saying that you can’t fully trust them. Why? Because they don’t do adequate testing to prove safety and effectiveness of drugs. Furthermore, the agency’s position that FDA-approved generic drugs work just as well as the brand is often not true.
Indeed, according to Valisure, not all FDA-approved generic versions of brand drugs are created equal. However, if you buy a prescription drug from Valisure, the company claims to conduct testing beyond what the FDA requires that will better ensure its safety and efficacy. I wrote “claims,” but I believe them! Really, it comes down to independent and more rigorous testing. But what does that have to do with drug importation?
David Light, the founder and CEO of Valisure, testified before the Senate Finance Committee about drug safety and quality, and relevant regulatory shortfalls. Importation was not a focal point. The focus was on problems with the FDA’s reliance on inspections of drug manufacturing plants and drug companies telling the truth about their safety data. That’s not good enough, says Mr. Light. Test, test, test was the mantra of the testimony. At the end of the testimony, Mr. Light stated:
“Finally, another avenue where independent batch-level validation of drugs could easily be applied is drug importation. Drug importation is a unique opportunity to reimagine the drug supply chain and rebuild it in a way that helps ensure drug quality by incorporating independent chemical analysis of all imported products – essentially making all imported drugs certified drugs. We believe that drug importation is not only an important opportunity to provide lower-cost drugs to American consumers, but to enable even higher quality assurance than is presently possible in the current domestic drug supply.”
Importation leading to lower cost and higher quality drugs. What an idea!