Menendez Statement on Drug Importation Vote

Menendez Statement on Drug Importation Vote

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez issued the following statement explaining his vote this week on a budget amendment that would have allowed the unregulated importation of prescription drugs from outside the U.S.:

“As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees our nation's health care system, I have been working to reign in the high cost of prescription drugs.  Too many Americans simply can't afford the medications they need.  That is why I supported an amendment this week to require any health legislation to meaningfully and significantly lower drug costs.  Sadly, not a single Republican voted to support that measure. 

“I've supported bills in the past to allow for the importation of prescription drugs—when the safety, authenticity and efficacy of the medications could be assured.  The amendment I voted against this week did not meet that test.  To be sure, the Food and Drug Administration could not certify that the mass, wholesale importation of medications from other countries would be safe, authentic or efficacious.  Allowing unknown drugs to be imported by uncertified and unverified internet pharmacies puts the well-being of patients at serious risk.

“A provision I wrote—along with the late Frank Lautenberg—to be part of the Affordable Care Act would have allowed for the safe importation of prescription drugs and greatly reduced their cost.  Unfortunately, that measure failed by only four votes. 

“I will continue to fight to protect health care for millions of Americans and for the solutions that ensure patients can both afford the medicines they need, and trust they are safe.  We need to lower the cost of prescription drugs, but we should not do so at the expense of the patient's good health.”