Prescription Drug Reimportation

by Caleb Reading

A couple of things about reimportation:

Firstly, another country’s drugs may (and often do) have a different bioavailability or quality than the ones used here, so it makes sense that the FDA would have to investigate and Congress would have to deliberate before giving the go ahead. I wouldn’t want to give an old lady reimported heart pills, only to find out they absorb into the body 10% faster or slower. I’m not going to give the woman a heart attack to save her seven dollars. I’m not giving a medication to anyone without hearing the bioavailability rating from a source I trust.

Another thing, several of the brand name drugs being used as talking points already have a generic available. In Illinois, for example, there’s a bill pending to reimport 90 brand name drugs. 12 of the 90 drugs already have a generic equivalent available in the U.S., and the generic equivalent is cheaper than the reimported brand name would be. The people could already be taking the generic with the same bioavailability instead of lobbying for a reimport that may have a questionable bioavailability. [Yes, I know rumor has it that some reimports are made in the same American factories, hence the italicized “may”. Let’s not pick nits here.]

When customers come in here with money concerns about one of their brand name prescriptions that doesn’t have a generic available, we write down for them a short list of drugs in the same family that do have a generic available. They can take the list to the doctor and discuss if a change is feasible for them. Often, it is.

I cannot stress enough, take the generic. Take the generic. Take the generic. Take the generic. Some people are allergic to a binding agent in their brand name drug’s generic (just as some people are allergic to a binding agent in the brand name and not in the generic). And some drugs should be obtained from the same manufacturer after you’ve started taking them (Digoxin, Levothyroxine, and Warfarin Sodium, for example), so if you get the brand name the first time you’re stuck with it. Those are the only good reasons I can think of to not take one of the high-quality generics we have available to us in this country. I can’t frickin stress it enough. Don’t pay extra for years-old research, neat-shaped stock bottles with pretty labels, armies of drug reps marketing to frazzled doctors, and advertisements of questionable morality. Let someone else be the gullible one.