Tuesday, October 10, 2006
In a bizarre resolution to the sending of Canadian drugs to the United States, Reuters reports here that U.S. customs officials will continue to take Canadian prescription drugs sent by mail to individuals in the U.S., but they will turn the drugs over to the FDA.for screening. The assumption made here is that the individual will eventually receive the drugs.
Now let me see if I understand this -
Lets start with three basic premises: 1) The government is saying it is illegal for individuals to import Canadian drugs. 2) The US government has also instituted HIPAA requirements to protect individuals' privacy in medical matters. 3) The US government also enforces strict antitrust controls.
Now lets examine the reality: 1) Is the government now allowing individuals to violate the law by allowing individuals to order drugs from Canada? 2) By violating the law will the government be monitoring what drugs individuals order into the United States and thus individuals will lose a dimension of their privacy? 3) And is the monitoring of drugs in any way a violation of the US government's antitrust rules or are we really protecting individuals by screening drugs entering the US? 4) And if the FDA is planning to screen drugs entering the US, then shouldn't the government be making it legal to order Canadian drugs?
The Reuters article has a quote from Senator Bill Nelson (Florida) stating that "[n]ow it looks like the government is getting out of the business of harassing these consumers." But do we really know that? In the white collar crime area, knowing whether something is criminal or not, can sometimes be difficult. This can be particularly true when dealing with the actions of agencies.