September 22, 2006
Congressional Republicans agree to ease Rx drug import ban
Republicans in the US House of Representatives agreed Thursday to prohibit customs agents from seizing limited amounts of prescription drugs that Americans buy in Canada and bring back into the US, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Although the deal does allow Americans to buy cheaper prescriptions through the mail or over the Internet, it would enable an American carry up to a 90-day supply of medication into the US from Canada without being stopped by customs agents, House and Senate Republicans said.
“This really breaks the dam and it shows that it’s only a matter of time before we pass a full blown reimportation bill,” Republican Sen. David Vitter said in the WSJ report.
Vitter has lead the charge in the Senate to prohibit the Homeland Security Department’s US Customs and Border Protection arm from seizing prescription drugs being carried over the border.
“I think support for that is going to continue, and going to continue to grow, no matter what this bill does or doesn’t say,” Vitter added.
While importing drugs into the US is illegal, the FDA generally has not stopped small amounts of medicine bought for personal use. Customs officials began intercepting imported prescription drugs two years ago and have seized more than 34,000 packages of drugs coming into the country over the last year, according to the WSJ report.