CCAGW Urges Nebraska Health and Human Services Committee to Oppose LB 200 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Urges Nebraska Health and Human Services Committee to Oppose LB 200

State Action

January 23, 2023

Health and Human Services Committee
Nebraska Legislature
1445 K Street
Lincoln, NE  68508

Dear Senator,

Your committee will be holding a hearing on LB 200, the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Act, on January 25, 2023.  On behalf of the 12,251 members of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Nebraska, I urge you to oppose this dangerous legislation, which is also a waste of time and the taxpayer’s money.  

LB 200 seeks to take advantage of the enactment of the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Act of 2020.  While six states have passed laws similar to LB 200, none of them have imported a single drug from Canada.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve any state plan, and the Canadian government has made it clear that it will not allow the export of any drugs if they adversely impact safety and supply for their citizens.

There are also serious issues related to unapproved products and counterfeits entering the market through international mail.  An April 2019 FDA report found that less than .18 percent of packages it reviews that come into the U.S. from 180 countries and are assumed to contain drug products are inspected, and 87 percent of those packages contained illegal, unapproved, counterfeit or potentially dangerous drugs.  Importing drugs from Canada from a “licensed supplier” certified by an approved vendor in Nebraska will be even less safe for patients.

The United States is the global leader in pharmaceutical drug research and development and led the development of three COVID-19 vaccines in record-setting time.  Efforts to import drugs from Canada puts biopharmaceutical innovation at risk by oversaturating the marketplace with drugs that are attached to that country’s price controls.

In December 2020, soon after the federal importation bill was enacted, Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu said bulk drug exports would not occur if there was a risk of creating or exacerbating drug shortages in Canada.  Since the country imports 68 percent of its drugs and only accounts for 2 percent of global drug sales, there will never be sufficient supply for Canada to export any drugs to the U.S.  Indeed, if only 20 percent of U.S. prescriptions were filled using Canadian prescription drug sources, the Canadian drug supply would be exhausted in 183 days.  Passing legislation like LB 200 is pointless. 

Comments to the FDA on its proposed rule for importation of prescription drugs noted that since 2000, the FDA has refused to certify the safety of imported drugs and the agency continues to follow that policy.  Drug importation poses significant risks to patients, especially vulnerable populations that would be at high risk of deception from counterfeits that could be life-threatening.          

We ask you to oppose LB 200, as it opens the floodgates to unsafe, unvetted drugs, threatens U.S. innovation, and distorts the medical marketplace with more price controls.

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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