Four former FDA commissioners denounce drug importation

The four most recent FDA commissioners have sent an open letter to Congress warning that legalizing the importation of drugs from other countries would endanger consumers by exposing them to fake, substandard, and contaminated drugs.

The four most recent FDA commissioners have sent an open letter to Congress warning that legalizing the importation of drugs from other countries would endanger consumers by exposing them to fake, substandard, and contaminated drugs. The letter was signed by two former FDA heads who served during the Obama administration—Robert Califf and Margaret Hamburg—and two who served under former president George W. Bush — Andrew von Eschenbach and Mark McClellan. Drug importation would likely "harm patients and consumers and compromise the carefully constructed system that guards the safety of our nation's medical products," they stated. In February, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and several Democrats introduced legislation in the Senate and House to allow the importation of drugs, first from licensed sellers in Canada and later possibly from Europe. Medications in many countries are cheaper than in the United States because of government price controls. President Donald Trump has also said that consumers should be allowed to import drugs from overseas. As president, however, he has not pursued the subject.