An HHS task force on re-importing prescription drugs said that ensuring the safety of imported drugs would be very difficult and costly with only marginal savings on drug spending. The task force, mandated by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, missed a Dec. 8 deadline to report on its discussions. Its 145-page report, released today, does not make recommendations but evaluates potential costs and benefits. The U.S. healthcare system would save $2 billion to $4 billion annually, or 1% to 2% of total drug spending, with most of the overall savings going to intermediaries such as health plans, the report said. The task force did not put a price on establishing a system to ensure drug safety but said it would be costly and difficult, especially for drugs imported via the Internet. Read the report. -- by Tony Fong
Panel sees few gains, big costs in re-importation
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