Navigating the healthcare system, especially when you have a family member with autism or any chronic condition can be daunting. Finding the treatments that work best for an individual can also be expensive, and while everyone has an opinion about how to lower our healthcare costs, there is one “solution” that is not worth the risk: importing drugs from other countries.
There is already a real problem with counterfeit drugs in the U.S. In fact many of the most publicized overdose deaths, including Prince’s, were causes by counterfeit oxycodone. Those are perhaps the most tragic results of counterfeit drugs, but there is also the costs to everyday families. If someone spends their money on counterfeit drugs, which don’t work or may cause additional negative side effects, how will they pay for that? If we are looking to drive down costs, making it easier for drug traffickers to expose consumers to drugs which don’t have the guarantee or oversight of the FDA would only increase medical complications, leading to additional costs.
We are confident that we can find better solutions to the rising cost of healthcare than to endanger our own people by importing medications that the U.S. health officials cannot guarantee would pose no additional risk to public health and safety. There are other ways to bring costs down while ensuring patient safety, so we were pleased to see that Senator Heitkamp put patients’ safety first and foremost and voted no on allowing importation. North Dakota patients should thank Senator Heitkamp for voting against this measure, especially patients with complex diagnosis and treatment regiments who could have been at the most risk if exposed to counterfeit or contaminated drugs from other countries.