At his hearing of the Senate Health, Education, and Labor (HELP) Committee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul Paul told Health and Human Services Nominee Alex Azar that he could not support his nomination unless he presented a plan to allow importation of prescriptive drugs, as detailed in the following press release:
Dr. Rand Paul to HHS Nominee: Convince Me You Have a Plan to Safely Reimport Drugs, or I Cannot Support Your Nomination
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During today’s U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) stated that he cannot support the nomination of Alex Azar to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services unless he can convince Dr. Paul that he is open to the idea of reimporting prescription drugs and can lay out a plan to do so safely.
“If you’re open to it, and not just say it’s unsafe, will say, ‘This is how I would do it, and this is how I would reimport drugs and make it safe,’ that’s an honest reform. If you can’t do that, I can’t support you,” said Dr. Paul. “So I hope you will come back with an answer that says, ‘This is how I would make reimportation safe.’”
Earlier in the exchange, Dr. Paul urged Azar to represent the American people over the interests of Big Pharma, saying, “Big Pharma manipulates the system to keep prices high. It is not capitalism, and it’s big government, and we’ve got to fix it.” He went on to add, “You need to convince those of us who are skeptical that you’ll be part of fixing it and won’t be beholden to Big Pharma.”
In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump called for eliminating “barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products” as part of his seven-point health care plan, also declaring, “Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers,” a statement Dr. Paul highlighted during his remarks.
Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul championed free-trade in pharmaceuticals and introduced legislation, the Perspiration Drug Affordability Act, that would have allowed Americans to purchase affordable pharmaceuticals from overseas.
Here and below is his official statement on the bill:
HON. RON PAUL
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Prescription Drug
Affordability Act. This legislation ensures that millions of Americans,
including seniors, have access to affordable pharmaceutical products.
My act removes needless government barriers to importing
pharmaceuticals and it protects Internet pharmacies, which are making
affordable prescription drugs available to millions of Americans, from
being strangled by federal regulation.
The Prescription Drug Affordability Act brings competition to the
market for pharmaceutical products by allowing anyone wishing to import
a drug to simply submit an application to the FDA, which then must
approve the drug unless the FDA finds the drug is either not approved
for use in the U.S. or is adulterated or misbranded. This process will
make safe and affordable imported medicines affordable to millions of
Americans. Mr. Speaker, letting the free market work is the best means
of lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
I need not remind my colleagues that many Americans impacted by the
high costs of prescription medicine have demanded Congress reduce the
barriers which prevent American consumers from purchasing imported
pharmaceuticals. Congress has responded to these demands by repeatedly
passing legislation liberalizing the rules governing the importation of
pharmaceuticals. However, implementation of this provision has been
blocked by the federal bureaucracy. It is time Congress stood up for
the American consumer and removed all unnecessary regulations on
The Prescription Drug Affordability Act also protects consumers'
access to affordable medicine by forbidding the federal government from
regulating any Internet sales of FDA-approved pharmaceuticals by State-
As I am sure my colleagues are aware, the Internet makes
pharmaceuticals and other products more affordable and accessible for
millions of Americans. However, the federal government has threatened
to destroy this option by imposing unnecessary and unconstitutional
regulations on Web sites that sell pharmaceuticals. Any federal
regulations would inevitably drive up prices of pharmaceuticals, thus
depriving many consumers of access to affordable prescription
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to make
pharmaceuticals more affordable and accessible by removing barriers to
the importation of pharmaceuticals and protecting legitimate Internet
pharmacies from needless regulation by cosponsoring the Prescription
Drug Affordability Act.