Senate Budget Resolution: Potential Amendments on Drug Importation

By at 19 October, 2017, 7:19 pm

DRUG IMPORTATION: A Threat to Safety, Innovation, and the U.S. Economy

Dear Member of the United States Senate:

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and our nationwide membership of entrepreneurs and small businesses have long opposed the importation of prescription drugs due to the serious harm it poses to safety, innovation and the U.S. economy.  Drug importation undermines the competitiveness of the entrepreneurial firms that dominate the pharmaceutical industry, and threatens investment in these firms.  Moreover, safety concerns have only worsened as international criminals are using the internet to infest the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain with dangerous counterfeit drugs containing fentanyl.  SBE Council urges you to oppose any drug importation amendment which may be voted upon during debate of the budget resolution.

One of the key reasons why the U.S. has the most innovative pharmaceutical industry in the world is due to a lack of price controls. Drug importation would essentially support the misguided price control policies of other nations, which would undermine U.S. companies.  Price controls discourage investment, research and innovation, which is harmful to consumers and the small businesses that drive innovation in this industry.

The pharmaceutical business involves substantial risk taking. It costs as much as a $1 billion and 10-15 years to bring a drug to market, and for every 5 to 10 thousand compounds tested, only one medicine makes it to the marketplace.  Furthermore, most pharmaceutical firms are small to medium-size companies – with 90% of manufacturers having fewer than 500 employees, and 56% fewer than 20 employees. That’s small business.  Small pharmaceutical firms are working on the medicines that will improve and save lives, and drug importation places this incredibly important work in peril.

Finally, there is a reason why law enforcement organizations like the National Sheriffs’ Association and National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators have spoken out against drug importation.  They say that importation will worsen the opioid crisis, threaten public health and make their jobs much harder.

I strongly urge you to vote against any amendments that would allow for importation of prescription drugs – a policy that would cost the U.S. in terms of lost innovation, lost businesses, lost jobs, and ultimately, lost lives.


Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

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