Cases & Deals

Local pharmacists prevail in lawsuit to stop importation of potentially dangerous foreign drugs

Client(s) Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

A group of local pharmacists represented by Jones Day won final judgment in a case challenging the State of Maine's attempt to facilitate importation of potentially dangerous and mislabeled foreign drugs into the United States. A state statute enacted in 2013 exempted foreign pharmaceutical brokers from the State's pharmacy licensing requirements and purported to authorize them to import foreign drugs to patients in Maine. The State and other employers sought to actively facilitate such imports by offering financial incentives to employees who purchased potentially harmful foreign drugs instead of safe domestic drugs.

The district court held that the state statute is preempted by the comprehensive federal scheme in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other statutes, which protects patient health by regulating drug safety and restricting importation of foreign pharmaceutical products. The State opted not to pursue an appeal of that ruling.