WASHINGTON, DC — The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) issued the following statement today in response to the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy:
APhA has mixed views on the Executive Order. On the one hand, it contains important directives that could increase access to care through pharmacies and pharmacists. However, APhA opposes the inclusion of prescription drug importation as a potential means to reduce drug costs due to our continued concerns about patient safety and the integrity of the drug supply chain.
Promoting Market Competition:
APhA applauds the Executive Order’s call to vigorously enforce antitrust laws and recognition that the law allows them to challenge prior bad mergers, particularly in healthcare markets. Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices have led to increases in patients’ drug prices at the pharmacy counter through use of direct and indirect remuneration (“DIR”) fees and other “clawback” mechanisms, delaying prescribed treatments through patient steering and prior authorization, and limiting options for patients by controlling access to insurance networks.
“APhA is spear-heading payment reform and addressing the negative impact that PBMs—including vertically merged PBMs—have had on patient care and the sustainability of independent and small chain pharmacies. PBM abuses and price gouging directly contribute to sky high drug prices and limit patients’ abilities to get the care they need when they need it from their pharmacist” said APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Scott J. Knoer.
Prescription Drug Importation:
APhA is dismayed that the Executive Order directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work with the states and tribes to “safely” import prescription drugs from Canada.
APhA remains steadfastly opposed to prescription drug importation schemes because they threaten patient safety and create supply chain vulnerabilities that could potentially introduce counterfeit or unsafe drugs into the market. Allowing drug importation also undermines the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), which creates “track-and-trace” drug supply chain safeguards that do not exist in Canada. By commingling FDA-approved and imported versions of medicines in the marketplace, drug importation programs would also create disruptions and confusion in the supply chain and may limit patient access to medications by complicating insurance coverage and reimbursement at the pharmacy.
“FDA’s drug importation program is smoke and mirrors,” said APhA’s Ilisa Bernstein, PharmD, JD, FAPhA, Senior Vice President for Pharmacy Practice and Government Affairs. “There is no evidence demonstrating that importing drugs from Canada will lower drug costs for patients. What’s costly is the threat to patient safety that these drugs will pose at the pharmacy counter.”
APhA urges FDA not to risk patient safety and the security and integrity of our nation’s drug supply by approving risky prescription drug importation programs.
APhA looks forward to working with the Biden Administration and the federal agencies on initiatives to promote competition, enhance access to care, and reduce drug costs.
About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association is the United States’ largest association advancing the entire pharmacy profession. Our expert staff and strong volunteer leadership, including many experienced pharmacists, allow us to deliver vital resources to help pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians succeed. We tirelessly advocate for policy changes that benefit pharmacists, their patients, and their communities.
Contact: Meredith Jannsen