2004N-0115 - Prescription Drug Importation; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC36
Submitter : Mr. Jay Starkman Date & Time: 05/18/2004 11:05:35
Organization : Mr. Jay Starkman
Individual Consumer
Category :
Issue Areas/Comments
The debate over importing drugs assumes they all originate in the U.S. CVS Corp. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Ryan was disingenuous when he told the panel on May 5, 2004, "The United States can no longer bear the cost of R&D (research and development) for the world."

I purchase Tricor, an Abbott Labs cholesterol lowering drug. It costs $3.35 per tablet; $2.95 with my insurance discount. Imported from Canada, it's $1.10.

The Canadian pharmacy substitutes Lipidil, made by Fournier, a French company. Lipidil was developed by Fournier, and licensed to Abbott which sells it under the tradename, Tricor. Tricor and Lipidil are identical, even in appearance. Abbott may import the drug from France. So, why shouldn't I import it from Canada?

Drug companies argue that high prices reimburse them for research and development costs. What is the explanation for price gouging on licensed Tricor?

I also purchase Coumadin in Canada where the brand name costs less than its generic, warfarin, costs in the U.S. There's something terribly wrong with the U.S. distribution system when the generic costs more than the brand name.

The Task Force on Drug Importation is being fed a lot of propaganda by the drug industry. Your report will be a failure if it doesn't include a section exposing monopoly pricing and the inefficiencies in U.S. distribution. Go ask Abbott Labs why licensed Tricor is so expensive. Ask Bristol-Myers Squibb and generic manufacturers to explain why the generic warfarin costs more in the U.S. than the brand name Coumadin costs in Canada. Get those answers and you may produce a useful report.

-Jay Starkman
Atlanta, GA


On the Internet:

> Abbott is Fournier's exclusive licensee under the '726 patent. Abbott also
> holds a New Drug Application ("NDA") approved by the United States Food
> and Drug Administration ("FDA"), permitting it to market Fournier's
> fenofibrate capsules in the United States. Abbott sells the capsules under
> the tradename TRICOR.
> http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/federal/judicial/fed/opinions/02opinions/02-1387.html

Jay Starkman, CPA Voice: 404-636-1400 Fax: 404-636-1130
2531 Briarcliff Road, Suite 116 e-mail: jay@starkman.com
Atlanta, Georgia 30329 Internet: http://www.starkman.com