BioUtah President Kelly Slone Urges Representative Brad Daw to Fight Against Bill HB 163 in the Following Letter:
February 1, 2018
The Honorable Brad M. Daw, Chair
House Health and Human Services Committee
Utah State Capitol Complex
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114
Dear Representative Daw:
I write today on behalf of BioUtah to respectfully convey our opposition to RB 163, which would require the Department of Health to design a wholesale Canadian prescription drug importation program. Despite this bill's good intentions, HB 163 would threaten patient safety, impact innovation, and should be regulated federally.
Utah's life sciences industry is a key economic driver in the state. In 2016, the industry accounted for more than 1,300 companies employing 37,000 Utahns. Average wages are more than 150 percent of the Utah average pay. The industry provides a diverse range of jobs in the medical device, biopharmaceutical, diagnostic testing, medical labs and contract research sectors. Utah is known for having a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, giving new hope to patients worldwide and holding great promise to become a national leader in the life sciences.
Innovation is key to the growth of our industry. Studies have found that importation would have a negative impact on the biopharmaceutical innovation, creating fewer investments in R&D which ultimately impacts the consumer and does not result in an overall cost savings.i Establishing an importation program of prescription drugs from Canada could expose patients to counterfeit, altered or unapproved drugs that lack oversight by any health authority. We know that under importation, there is no guarantee that patients and consumers will be kept safe from counterfeit drugs. We believe that safety to our patients is critical and this bill would ultimately compromise patient safety and have a negative impact on innovation.
Furthermore, importation has been addressed at a federal level, through the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of2003 (]\1MA). The MMA would allow pharmacists and wholesalers to import certain drugs (not including controlled substances or biological products) from Canada to the United States only when the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) certifies to Congress that such importation will pose no additional risk to public health and safety and will result in significant cost-savings to American consumers.
Neither HHS Secretary Thompson nor HHS Secretary Slialala were able to make the required certification. Both Administrations stated they could not assure the safety of imported products,even with "safeguards" built into the legislation. We believe importation should remain a federal issue and it is important we do not create a patchwork of policy state by state.
We respectfully urge your no vote on HB 163. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 703-969-5403 or Kelly@bioutah.org
President and CEO