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Friday, January 30, 2009

Illinois Governor Was Impeached For... Importing Drugs

Seriously, folks. Forget that business about selling the Obama senate seat or that Rod Blagojevich, in general, appeared to be a crude and greedy political hack (we hope we're not understating the case).

The Final Report of the Special Investigative Committee prepared for the Illinois House of Representatives cited, among other things, the fact that Rod-the-not-so-mod directed the state to import prescription drugs as a reason for impeachment.

Of all things.

The report noted a bunch of problems, starting with the fact that Rod launched the I-SaveRx program in 2004, despite being advised by the FDA that a drug importation program violated federal law.

From there, the report cited audit findings showing state inspections were not conducted by compliance investigators; none of the pharmacies listed in the program were licensed under Illinois law to dispense pharmaceuticals and none of the medicines shipped to state residents were ever tested, despite promises by Rod's office to do so in collaboration with the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy.

In skewering Rod's performance, the report called the program "a double-blind experiment" that failed. "The Committee finds that, while attempting to help individuals save on the costs of prescription drugs is laudable, it is absolutely essential that the safety of those drugs be ensured and that state and federal laws be followed. The Governor's program failed on all of these counts," the report concluded.

"The Governor violated federal law and, in fact, exposed possibly unknowing participants of the program to federal criminal sanctions. In sum, the Governor knew the program was illegal but allowed it to go forward; and then the program, once implemented, violated numerous State laws relating to safety and quality control of prescription drugs. The Committee finds that the Governor abused the power of his office."

You can imagine what some lobbyists in Washington D.C., are asking over lunch or drinks: 'So do you think anyone in the Obama administration will push for importation now?' (Our answer is here.)

2 comments:

James said...

The Illinois report appears contradictory in that it reads that foreign companies can be licensed if they have similar requirments as the State of Illinois; the report then goes on to say that the companies involved would not have met their licensing standards. It seems strange to me that companies in the UK and Canada could not meet the Illinois requirements; afterall a large number of Pharmaceutical companies are foreign owned entities.
However, I do agree that without proper oversight, and the report does state there was no oversight, the Illinois program was deeply flawed as there was no way of knowing whether the imported drugs are drugs already for sale in the US and made by approved manufacturers.
As far as the importation of drugs and the attitude of the current Administration; I think your link sums it up. It will not happen and not because of safety issues. The Heparin story will be front and center as a reason to oppose prescription imports for individuals; The hypocrisy here is that as a country we already import more pharmaceuticals then we export.

JimK

insider said...

Good to see you back in the saddle Ed.