Both Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barak Obama and Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain say they support drug reimportation – or the importing of prescription drugs from other countries – however both say that the safety of those drugs should be paramount. Both parties’ opinions were announced at the annual Generic Pharmaceutical Association last month, according to CQ Politics.

Last month, Reuters reported that both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain were considering their positions on reimportation. While both supported the concept, which would help keep costs of medications down for consumers, they said recent scares made the topic more controversial, citing the cases of contaminated heparin from China that resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries.

Other countries, such as Canada, have government price controls that keep prescription drug costs down, making reimportation of foreign drugs a far more attractive option, especially for those who spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on prescriptions each year. While several U.S. bills on reimportation have been proposed, none have become law.

CQ Politics quoted Obama campaign adviser Neera Tanden as saying, “Our plan does not envision importing drugs from China . . . but from countries with strong records of safety, like Canada and Europe.”

The McCain campaign says there needs to be a “properly documented” drug supply chain and that Food and Drug Administration funding should be increased to ensure the drugs meet state and federal standards for safety.

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