On July 31, 2019, PILMA released the following statement regarding an announcement by the Trump Administration exploring drug importation from Canada.
The Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA) has a long and steadfast history of opposing the importation of biopharmaceuticals from other countries. Bad policies can take any form, whether as importation legislation or a proposed rule. The exploration of drug importation by the Trump Administration would put the health of patients at risk, chill innovation and hurt union construction jobs.
PILMA members are a part of North America’s Building Trades Unions, which invest over $1.5 billion annually in training their members to be the safest and highest-skilled workers in the world, ready to meet the rigorous demands of the biopharmaceutical industry. If the administration allowed price-controlled imports of biopharmaceuticals, there would be reduced incentives for biopharmaceutical companies to invest in R&D and manufacturing in the United States. Consequently, there would be a reduction in investment in these facilities domestically and a significant loss of work for union members.
The building trades rely on a steady stream of construction work provided by the biopharmaceutical industry in order to keep members earning a paycheck and in the middle class. Members are also patients, and importation raises serious concerns about the safety and efficacy of imported medications. There is no way to verify whether imported medicines originate in Canada or other less regulated countries. There are well-documented cases of imported medicines containing different or no active ingredients that can cause great harm to patients.
PILMA is opposed to importation in all forms and reaffirms its 2017 resolution in opposition to this policy. It would be shortsighted if the administration removed the safeguards put in place over the last 50 years and opened up the U.S. to adulterated drugs while chilling current and future innovation.