Vermont Sues FDA Over Drug Importation

August 23, 2004 ( - The state of Vermont announced on Thursday that it was suing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over its imported prescription drug policy.

With this move,Vermont becomes the first state to sue the federal government regarding this issue.

Vermont will not sit back and watch as the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs continues to rise,” Vermont Republican Gov. James Douglas said in a statement. In their lawsuit,Vermont has asked that the FDA be forced to adopt regulations allowing importation of prescription drugs.

Vermont provides prescription-drug benefits to approximately 21,000 current and former employees and their dependents. The state pays a portion of drug costs and the employees pay the rest. Drug importation from abroad would ease the cost on the state of rising drug prices, state authorities believe.

The FDA has stated that purchasing medicine from abroad could pose health risks to US citizens. However, the rising costs of health care and prescription drugs has forced many states to consider options such as importing drugs from abroad, which has brought them into conflict with FDA policy.Vermont decided on a lawsuit after an application for a federal waiver to start a pilot program was rejected by the federal government.

Multiple states have already gone ahead with plans to import drugs from international sources, withIllinois being the latest to import drugs against FDA wishes (See Illinois Becomes Fifth State to Import Prescription Drugs from Abroad ).

– Kip McDaniel