The Juggernaut of Importation

J0434059_3Two divergent sets of events conspire this week to create circumstances that make the prospect of drug importation more likely.

First, the one we all have heard about all week – Super  Tuesday.  The undeniable front runners are Clinton, McCain and Obama.  All three favor drug importation.  That means that it is inevitable that a president who favors importation will be in the White House with a Democratic House and Senate that will be more receptive to the concept than at any time prior.

Second, the Indianapolis Star reported this week a Reuters story that Eli Lilly had brought suit in the United Kingdom to stop a British pharmacy from buying products in Turkey and selling them over the Internet via Canada.  Initially, the article reports, Lilly was successful in the lower court and obtained an injunction.  But on appeal, Lilly lost and the British pharmacy named 8PM won. 

Importation is a policy challenge for industry, but it will also be a regulatory challenge for FDA, just one in another of a long series of issues the FDA will have to deal with credibly in the coming months.

This is by no means, the end of the story.  But it is clear that events are shaping up to support importation and while perhaps not yet a juggernaut, there is an increasing sense of inevitability about it.

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