Francis Donnelly was aggravated enough when the company that made the medicine to control his Crohn's disease and intestinal bleeding stopped producing it for the United States. He had to resort to getting it from pharmacies overseas.
So imagine how the 85-year-old retiree felt when the United States' Food and Drug Administration started seizing his meds at the border, as it recently did in what appears to be part of a growing crackdown by the Trump administration on personal imports of cheaper foreign prescriptions, in part under its push to curd opioid abuse.
“Something is really stupid. The government is supposed to help the American citizen, not hinder them,” said Donnelly, speaking from his New Jersey home.
The U.S. government has stepped up seizures of drugs ordered by Americans from international sources through the mail—including cheaper, legal medications from legitimate pharmacies, Tarbell has found.
While the dragnet is aimed at opioids, it's catching increasing numbers of orders by individual Americans seeking medicines that are less costly or only available internationally—a practice that has not been the target of federal enforcement—until now.
Read the whole story on Tarbell to see how the crackdown is working, and how the FDA plans to boost seizures of medications by a factor of ten.