Questions about Prescription Drug Importation? KFF Has Answers

With lowering prescription drug costs a top priority for Americans, the Trump Administration, presidential candidates, members of Congress, and several states are proposing to allow the importation of drugs from abroad, chiefly Canada. The idea of allowing drugs to be imported from Canada and other countries is popular with Americans across the political spectrum, but has yet to be implemented due to concerns about safety, and strong opposition from the drug industry.

A new KFF resource, 10 FAQs on Prescription Drug Importation, provides answers to questions, such as:

  • How does current U.S. law regulate the importation of prescription drugs from other countries?
  • What are the safety concerns related to importation of prescription drugs?
  • What has the Trump Administration proposed regarding importation?
  • What are states currently doing regarding importation?

Importing drugs from abroad is just one of many proposals on the table for tackling rising drug costs. The House of Representatives recently passed a bill (H.R. 3) that would authorize the Secretary of HHS to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare, and curb annual increases in drug prices. The Senate Finance Committee has also passed legislation to address drug costs. (Neither H.R.3 nor the Senate bill, S.2543, includes a proposal to allow importation from other countries.) For more KFF resources on prescription drugs and the debate over how best to lower drug costs, visit kff.org.