Utah Senate - Oppose Importation | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Utah Senate - Oppose Importation

State Action

March 7, 2019

Senate Health and Human Services Committee
Utah State Senate
Salt Lake City, UT 84114

Dear Senator,

It is our understanding you will soon hear House Bill 267 in committee.  On behalf of the 13,617 members of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Utah, I urge you to oppose this legislation, which would direct the Department of Health to develop a program to import prescription drugs from Canada.  HB 267 is wasteful and unnecessary and will not result in lower drug costs for patients.

The federal government is the sole authority that can determine whether the importation of drugs from any country is safe.  No secretary of Health and Human Services or commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of either party has ever certified that importing pharmaceuticals would keep Americans safe from dangerous counterfeit drugs, including the opioids that have caused so much destruction across our country.  It is not the role of a state government to run an importation program.  State officials are not equipped to assess the effectiveness or potency of foreign drugs, and an importation program would represent significant government overreach.

Moreover, the importation of drugs establishes price controls that are a feature of countries with socialized medicine, like Canada.  Price controls inevitably result in less research and development, fewer jobs, and fewer cures.  They also result in drug shortages, hurting patients more than anyone else.  Furthermore, importation assumes that Canadian pharmacies will sell their drugs without a considerable mark-up to cover their handling costs or that pharmaceutical companies will sell more drugs than needed for the population of a Canadian province.

Utah should be proud of its commitment to small government and free enterprise.  An importation plan that brings Canadian-style socialized medicine to the Beehive State would not be in line with Utah’s values. 

It would be better for Utah state officials to ask their U.S. congressional delegation to create an environment that fosters competition and innovation and to continue to hold the FDA’s feet to the fire to make sure the backlog of generic drug applications awaiting approval is cleared.  This would be a far more effective way to help bring down the price of prescription drugs than passing this harmful and counterproductive bill.

America and Utah need policies that speed innovation and competition.  Imported price controls that stifle it, like HB 267, should be rejected.


Thomas A. Schatz

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