Former law enforcement officials raise concerns with drug importation proposals

Nicole Longo   |     May 11, 2017   |   SHARE THIS

Time and again, proponents of drug importation schemes overlook the major impact such proposals would have on our law enforcement officers – the men and women who spend their lives protecting Americans and protecting our borders. And the reality is, allowing drug importation would greatly increase the burden on our already overextended law enforcement agencies.

In case you missed it, several former law enforcement officials have recently expressed concerns with drug importation schemes, like those proposed by some members of Congress.

  • Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI, explained in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Allowing citizens to purchase medicine direct from foreign countries will mean more risk to consumers from counterfeit drugs, more opportunity for criminal activity in the marketplace, and more stresses placed on overstressed law enforcement efforts to combat this problem. The belief that U.S. consumers can gain access to safe and low-cost medicines from Canadian and European drug markets without an offsetting cost to consumer confidence and law enforcement is not realistic. Quite the contrary, drug counterfeiting is a global threat that we’re inviting upon ourselves if Congress allows this idea to move forward.”
  • George Karavetsos, former director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, wrote in the Miami Herald: “As a former director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, I have seen firsthand an unprecedented level of sophistication from criminal organizations actively engaged and determined to infiltrate our closed drug supply. […] Passing legislation to allow for a flood of imported, unapproved drugs, would tilt the balance more toward criminal elements, to the grave disadvantage of consumers.”
  • Derek Arnson, former Chief of Police in Nogales, Arizona, said in the Washington Examiner: “[T]he legislation would vastly increase the flow of illegal narcotics and counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl into the United States. Local law enforcement, already strained by narco traffickers, would find their time and their resources spread perilously thin. […] In the past few years, we've lost firefighters and college grads, senior citizens and avid outdoorsmen, to fentanyl that was brought across the border. I've seen the corpses and stood in front of the grieving families. Their preventable and untimely deaths have haunted me on the clock and off. If the Sanders drug importation bill is passed, the dead may soon include patients who thought they were taking legitimate drugs for legal purposes.”

Learn more at PhRMA.org/Importation.

Nicole Longo

Nicole Longo Nicole is senior director of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on Medicare, 340B, importation and more. She previously worked for a D.C.-based public affairs firm where she assisted a wide range of clients with communications efforts on everything from trade policy to agriculture policy to health care policy. Outside the office, Nicole can be found trying new restaurants (usually Italian), taking an occasional barre class and cheering on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Topics: Counterfeit Drugs, Prescription Drug Safety, Importation

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