Lone Star State Pharmacy Officials Request Legal Clarification

September 2, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Texas State Board of Pharmacy has announced that it is putting off implementing procedures for Canadian pharmaceutical drug importation until it gets a legal opinion on the state's new Canadian drug program.

The board explained in a Web statement that the original October 1, 2005 implementation date set by the Lone Star state’s new drug importation program was on hold until after getting the opinion from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

The agency explained that it formally requested the Abbott opinion in a June letter after receiving notice from the federal Food and Drug Administration that portions of the new Texas law violated federal statutes (See FDA Warns TX About Bill to License Canadian Pharmacies ).

In the letter to Abbott, the agency asked for a formal opinion on whether federal law effectively precludes implementation of SB 410 and whether it is a violation of federal law for the agency to authorize and promote the importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada.

The Canadian drug bill, signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 18, requires the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to inspect and authorize Canadian pharmacies to import prescription medications into the State of Texas. The law requires that the agency designate from one to 10 Canadian pharmacies as having passed inspection, and allow the pharmacies to ship prescription drugs into Texas. The agency is also mandated to provide information on these pharmacies on its Web site to facilitate ordering of drugs by Texas residents.

“We want to make sure that what we’re doing is legal,” Gay Dodson, executive director of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, told Business Insurance.

The issue of government agencies importing less pricey pharmaceutical drugs from Canada has been extremely controversial in recent years with officials desperate to shave their health care costs even though federal agencies insist such importation would be illegal under US law.