Oct. 6, 2006 — Starting Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will stop seizing personal supplies of prescription drugs sent from the territory to the mainland, Delegate Donna M. Christensen said in a news release issued Friday. According to the release, seizures of packages from foreign locations, such as Canada, to the territory will also cease.
Christensen said that counterfeit medicines, narcotics and illegal drugs will still be seized.
Modeste said that after residents complained about the problem, Christensen pushed to get a change in policy. Modeste said that members of Congress also urged the agency to end this practice because their constituents were not happy, particularly when it came to seizing drugs that were sent from Canada.
People started buying drugs from Canada and other foreign locations because they were cheaper.
Modeste said the pharmaceutical companies are unhappy about this latest turn of events because cheaper imported drugs eat into their profits.
Responsibility for enforcing the policies on drug importation has now shifted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, Christensen said the FDA has limited resources to devote to confiscation, so the number of seizures should drop greatly.
Nearly a year ago, Customs and Border Patrol began the crackdown. According to the Washington Post, between Nov. 1, 2005, and July 2006, the agency seized about 40,000 prescription drug packages at international mail centers.
Recipients then got a notice in the mail that their purchase violated laws against importing drugs.
Christensen said she will continue to work on other U.S. Postal Service and mailing problems that affect the territory.
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