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Quality Digest

FDA Compliance

Giuliani Report Cites Security Risks of Drug Importation

Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 22:00

As the nation tightens its borders against possible terrorist attacks, it risks undermining those efforts by allowing the importation of non-FDA-approved prescription drugs. This was the conclusion of a report issued by Giuliani Partners, a firm headed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “Examination and Assessment of Prescription Drug Importation from Foreign Sources to the United States” was commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The report found that the risk of importing drugs far outweighs any benefits and calls on the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a threat and vulnerability assessment.

“We should not contemplate opening our borders to threats to our medicine supply when in all other aspects we’re searching for ways to tighten the security of our borders,” says Giuliani in the report. “Several credible sources have identified links between counterfeit good, including pharmaceuticals, and organized criminals and terrorist groups. It isn’t difficult to imagine a scenario in which terrorist groups could use this system to either finance operations or, worse, as a vehicle of attack.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • Unapproved drugs have already entered the system. According to the report, nearly 90 percent of suspected drug parcels randomly examined by airport mail facilities contained non-FDA-approved medicines from Pakistan, Brazil, the Netherlands and Canada.
  • Drugs are already coming from foreign sources. Several large Canadian Internet pharmacies have stated publicly that they fill prescriptions with drugs from other countries. Patients can’t assume these medications are identical to what they would receive in the United States.

“We understand that some Americans are looking for cheaper drugs from abroad, but this report underscores the dangers of doing so,” says Billy Tauzin, president and CEO of PhRMA. “We have several safe and legal options for those looking for ways to reduce their prescription drug costs, including the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. We encourage all Americans to turn to these safe and credible methods before putting their health at risk buying unregulated drugs from a Website or another country.”

For more information, visit www.phrma.org.

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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.