WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Amy Klobuchar are urging new Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to use his statutory authority to fast track the importation of prescription drugs from Canada under certain circumstances as a remedy to recent drastic drug price increases in the United States.
“Where these conditions are met, the Secretary should permit importation from Canada with a fast track approval process for the competitor,” Grassley, McCain and Klobuchar wrote to Price.  “Fast track approval is key because regulatory costs can deter market competition. We urge you to carefully consider the recommendations outlined in this letter, which, if enacted, would provide immediate relief to millions of Americans struggling to afford the increasing cost of prescription drugs.”
The senators said the HHS secretary has the authority under current law to allow importation after certifying that the importation would pose no additional risk to the public’s health and safety and would result in a significant reduction in the cost of covered products to the American consumer.  The senators wrote that the importation can be expressly limited so it does not harm the company that invested in the development of the drug.  They urged the secretary to “consider immediately certifying importation of prescription drugs from Canada” when the drug is off patent or no longer marketed in the United States by the initial developer; has had significant, unexplained increases in price; has no direct competition and a competitor drug would help consumers; and is produced by companies with a certain track record.
Grassley, McCain and Klobuchar concluded, “If you believe additional authority is required to address this situation more comprehensively, please provide your recommendations as to what additional authority related to importation you would require to protect American consumers.”
Their letter is available here