Survey Says Two Million US Adults Import Drugs without Prescriptions
The top reason for drug importation was, not surprisingly, price, a motivator for more than 85% of the importers. More surprising, about half the importers lacked prescriptions for the drugs they wanted. The prescription drugs most often imported include drugs for infections requiring antibiotics, pain, allergies, hypertension, digestive problems, and high cholesterol.
While Canada is the single leading country exporting drugs to the United States, Canadian drugs account for less than half of all drugs coming from overseas. The majority of drugs came from other countries, or the importers were uncertain as to the country of origin of their imports.
In a statement published on the PhRMA website, the organization's President and CEO, Billy Tauzin said, "This study further confirms what the Food and Drug Administration has been saying all along—millions of Americans are circumventing the system and going to other sources to buy their medicine because they do not have a doctor's prescription for the medicine they want. Alarmingly, this behavior increases an individual's risk to being exposed to dangerous counterfeit medicines." -Michelle Hoffman
Sanofi Pasteur and MedImmune Awarded Contracts for Flu Vaccine Facilities
Sanofi plans to begin the design phase immediately, with the retrofit starting as soon as the new influenza-vaccine manufacturing facility is operational and licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (Rockville, MD). The company's existing facility will be phased out and decommissioned for the retrofit. Once both facilities are validated, the company's capacity will increase threefold.
The contracts are part of HHS's Pandemic Preparedness Plan, which was issued in November 2005 and outlines public-health preparedness and response activities for an influenza pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (Geneva), 1–2.3 billion hospitalizations and 280,000–650,000 deaths could occur in the next influenza pandemic in industrialized nations alone. HHS hopes to stockpile enough prepandemic influenza vaccine for 20 million people. -Angie Drakulich