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Dorga, Snowe, McCain, Stabenow Introduce Bipartisan Prescription Drug Importation Bill
U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Arizona ^ | 2009-03-04

Posted on 03/04/2009 7:28:00 PM PST by rabscuttle385

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), John McCain (R-AZ), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced critical drug importation legislation today that will reduce the cost of prescription drugs in the United States. The Senators said their legislation, the “Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act,” will bring consumers immediate relief and will ultimately force the pharmaceutical industry to lower drug prices in the United States.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would save American consumers $50 billion over the next decade, including more than $10 billion in federal government savings.

The bill allows U.S.-licensed pharmacies and drug wholesalers to import FDA-approved medications from Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan and pass along the savings to American customers. This approach will allow Americans to benefit from prices in these countries, which are 35 to 55 percent lower than in the U.S., while still enabling consumers to receive medications at a local pharmacy. The legislation would also allow individual consumers to purchase prescription drugs for personal use from safe, reliable, FDA-inspected Canadian pharmacies.

The legislation contains strong safeguards to prohibit drug counterfeiting or any other practices that would put the consumer at risk, and applies only to FDA-approved prescription drugs produced in FDA-approved plants from countries with comparable safety standards.

Dorgan and Snowe introduced bipartisan legislation that had over 30 Senate co-sponsors in the last session of Congress, including President Obama and Senator John McCain.

The President signaled support for this legislation, stating in the 2010 Budget proposal, “The Budget supports the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) new efforts to allow Americans to buy safe and effective drugs from other countries...”

“This is a common sense measure that will save both everyday Americans and the federal government billions of dollars, and improve the overall health of millions of people,” said Dorgan. “The U.S. consumers are paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and that’s unfair. By allowing access to identical, less expensive FDA-approved prescription drugs, we will be providing some relief to the American consumers, and force pharmaceutical companies to re-price their prescription drugs here in the U.S.”

“As Americans struggle with increasing health care costs during the deepest recession since World War II, more and more individuals are forced to skip doses or split pills, neglecting their health needs to keep food on the table,” said Senator Snowe, a member of the Health Subcommittee. “By implementing a safe prescription drug importation program, we will increase competition within the domestic prescription drug market which, in turn, will ensure more Americans have access to safe and affordable medications. While we still have much to do to ensure universal access to health care, no solution will be sustainable if we do not address the fact that our health costs are approximately double that of other industrialized nations. This bill takes a critical step to reduce those costs to make affordable access a reality.”

“For far too long Americans have seen health care costs – especially prescription drug costs – increase year after year,” said Senator John McCain. “Re-importation legislation would allow access to safe and effective prescription drugs at much lower prices than are available in the United States. If enacted, the legislation will provide the much needed relief to American families, especially seniors and others on fixed incomes, who are facing tough economic times.”

“This legislation provides a safe and secure framework to allow our government to help citizens and businesses lower their health care costs. We in Michigan know too well the price discrepancy between U.S. and Canadian drugs,” Stabenow said. “Across Michigan’s three bridges to Canada, my constituents could buy safe, FDA-approved drugs at a fraction of the cost compared to their neighborhood pharmacy. Unfortunately, no one except the drug companies can import prescription drugs. Pharmacists in my state would like to be able to do business with their counterparts in Canada and other industrialized nations so that they can offer their customers medicine at the best prices.”

# # #


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Arizona; US: Maine; US: Michigan; US: North Dakota
KEYWORDS: 111th; bipartisan; bipartisanship; dorgan; healthcare; mccain; mccaintruthfile; medicare; prescriptiondrugs; rino; senate; snowe; stabenow; ussenate
Dorgan and Snowe introduced bipartisan legislation that had over 30 Senate co-sponsors in the last session of Congress, including President Obama and Senator John McCain.


1 posted on 03/04/2009 7:28:00 PM PST by rabscuttle385
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To: stockpirate; ChrisInAR; AvOrdVet; MaggieCarta; indylindy; roamer_1; calcowgirl; djsherin; ...

The Juan McCain Truth File.

"I have great respect for Al Gore."
—John McCain, October 2, 2008

FR Keywords: mccaintruthfile, mcqueeg, mcbama

Please tag all relevant threads with the aforementioned keywords.

This can be a very high-volume ping list at times.

To join the ping list:
FReepmail rabscuttle385 with the subject line add  mccaintruthfile.
(Stop getting pings by sending the subject line drop mccaintruthfile.)


Republican Commissar’s Warning: By joining this ping list, you may be subjected to the delusional rants and ramblings of McCainiacs, of "moderate" Republicans, of pragmatic conservatives resigned to voting for the lesser of two Democrats, and of countless GOP shills who simply want to meet a new overlord.

2 posted on 03/04/2009 7:28:19 PM PST by rabscuttle385 ("If this be treason, then make the most of it!" —Patrick Henry)
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To: rabscuttle385

3 posted on 03/04/2009 7:34:30 PM PST by Westlander (Unleash the Neutron Bomb)
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To: rabscuttle385
The bill allows U.S.-licensed pharmacies and drug wholesalers to import FDA-approved medications from Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan and pass along the savings to American customers.

Great news, since Rx brand drugs cost so little in other countries.

4 posted on 03/04/2009 7:40:41 PM PST by rawhide
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To: rabscuttle385

McCain is hanging with Olympia Snowe? I’m shocked./sarc


5 posted on 03/04/2009 7:43:41 PM PST by AmericanGirlRising (Buying carbon credits will not get me into Heaven. I am second - http://iamsecond.com/#/home/)
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To: rawhide
Just another attempt to undercut capitalism at home. Congrats, Comrade McCain!

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

6 posted on 03/04/2009 7:44:15 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: rabscuttle385

So many Pharmacies have one month for $5 and three months for $10 now on a broad spectrum of medications. I believe the entire reason for the Prescription Benefit for Seniors was brought about to counter exactly this.

Many on the right voted for this and Bush signed it, partly because of the cry and hue over this particular issue. This will strangle research and prevent life-saving medications from ever being developed. Thanks to the anemic campaign put on by McCain, we have enough to worry about without him piling on more. You all know the old saying, “You can lead an old turd to water but you can’t make him smart.”


7 posted on 03/04/2009 7:45:54 PM PST by WildcatClan (Iam fimus mos ledo ventus apparatus)
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To: rabscuttle385

And yet I’m sure they all would be dead set against Walmart being able to offer 4.00 prescription drugs....


8 posted on 03/04/2009 7:52:10 PM PST by sbark
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To: rawhide
The bill allows U.S.-licensed pharmacies and drug wholesalers to import FDA-approved medications from Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan and pass along the savings to American customers.

Great news, since Rx brand drugs cost so little in other countries.

Don't be so sure. Big Pharma relies on the US market to pay for a.) their research (millions) and b.) the cost of gaining FDA approval (more millions).

If their US sales can be undercut by re-imported goods, then who's going to continue investing in research and FDA approvals? Nobody.

If approved, this law will probably stop pharmaceutical research in its tracks.

It's further proof that twelve years as Chairman of the Commerce committee didn't teach McCain a damn thing about business and the economy. If he wanted to do something constructive (rather than destructive), he could hammer on the Euro-socialists for mounting a price-fixing cartel that doesn't allow a price that helps the pharmaceutical companies recover their R&D (and FDA approval) costs.

It's not that we're paying too much. Instead, it's that the rest of the world is paying too little.

9 posted on 03/04/2009 8:00:07 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: okie01

You’re spot on. This will hurt pharma research, profits, and employment. This also increases the risk of sub-standard drugs coming in from China and other lovely places, since the chain of custody is longer and less controlled. McCain drives me nuts . . .


10 posted on 03/04/2009 8:04:26 PM PST by Think free or die (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money - M.Thatcher)
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To: Think free or die
McCain drives me nuts . . .

Obama is a catastrophe. And McCain would've merely been a disaster.

I believe we could've trusted him on the war. But little else.

Amnesty, CFR, global warming, temperament...McCain had a chance to be one of the worst presidents ever. A Jimmeh Cahtuh-style presidency.

Obama's worse. But McCain wasn't a walk on the beach...

11 posted on 03/04/2009 8:15:46 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: rabscuttle385
reduce the cost of prescription drugs in the United States

Didn't Wal Mart already do that?

12 posted on 03/04/2009 8:22:17 PM PST by Born Conservative (Bohicaville: http://bohicaville.wordpress.com/)
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To: rabscuttle385

This will hurt US drug companies and the development of new drugs.


13 posted on 03/04/2009 8:47:41 PM PST by kabar
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To: kabar

The WTO has dropped the ball on intellectual property rights for drugs. Most (all?) other countries threaten to produce the drug domestically if the drug companies do not sell at the demanded prices. The goal of importation is to impose price controls indirectly. Price controls reduce supply and innovation.

The importation idea will not work as these politicians envision. The drug companies will not sell excess drugs to these countries. Little supply will be available for importation. Canada has threatened to stop the export of its cheap drugs.


14 posted on 03/04/2009 9:11:04 PM PST by businessprofessor
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To: rabscuttle385

Good move! This has been one of McCain’s favorite issues for some time, but the Bush GOP kept voting it down. Today’s Congress may be just as bought off, but at least it’s by a different set of interests.


15 posted on 03/04/2009 9:41:52 PM PST by BlazingArizona
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To: kabar
This will hurt US drug companies and the development of new drugs.

Hey, I think you're right! If we don't give Sony immediate monopoly power over computer chip production, the whole field will grind to a halt.

16 posted on 03/04/2009 9:45:36 PM PST by BlazingArizona
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The sponsors forgot to mention this will mean U.S. companies will then invent as many new drugs as Canada, Europe and other freeloaders.


17 posted on 03/04/2009 11:15:38 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: rabscuttle385

I agree with this.


18 posted on 03/04/2009 11:21:33 PM PST by ari-freedom (Hail to the Dork!)
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To: Think free or die

“This also increases the risk of sub-standard drugs “

they are FDA approved drugs


19 posted on 03/04/2009 11:24:17 PM PST by ari-freedom (Hail to the Dork!)
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To: goldstategop

capitalism means less government control over the economy. Which is what this is about.


20 posted on 03/04/2009 11:30:46 PM PST by ari-freedom (Hail to the Dork!)
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To: BlazingArizona

or maybe we should ban car imports. Sorry, no more Toyotas because cheaper, better cars are hurting Ford’s R&D


21 posted on 03/04/2009 11:32:38 PM PST by ari-freedom (Hail to the Dork!)
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To: Born Conservative

I take an ARB, Diovan, for my high blood pressure and it costs me over $100 to refill it.

It’s not expired in terms of its patent, so doesn’t come in generic form.

Believe me, if I could buy it cheaper, I would!!

Ed


22 posted on 03/05/2009 1:05:49 AM PST by Sir_Ed
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To: rabscuttle385

Shutting down medical research in the world.


23 posted on 03/05/2009 2:37:42 AM PST by arthurus ( H.L. Mencken said, "Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.")
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To: rawhide
Great news, since Rx brand drugs cost so little in other countries.

Great for your wallet right now. BUT- The American market and its patent protection are 100% of the reason that there is any medical research at all. Even foreign companies that develop new drugs do it for the American market.If we substitute foreign acquired drugs we weaken and ultimately destroy the engine of medical research. And if you think well that's okay, we are at such a high level of medicine right now, we can afford to say "thus far and no farther," well, there is the problem of antibiotics. Bacteria and viruses are living creatures and they mutate and antibiotics lose their effectiveness over time and have to be replaced. That requires expensive medical research. If a company cannot make its research expenses back with a period of monopoly patent protection, new drugs- new antibiotics- will not be produced and after a time we are back to about 1910 medically. Without effective antibiotics, every disease is far more potentially fatal and things we take for granted, like knee replacements' success will be measured by survival rates and mostly won't be done at all. Every sort of medical operation will carry a much higher fatality rate. Hospitals will truly be places to die.

24 posted on 03/05/2009 2:48:11 AM PST by arthurus ( H.L. Mencken said, "Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.")
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To: businessprofessor

Agree completely. There will be plenty of unintended consequences.


25 posted on 03/05/2009 5:59:15 AM PST by kabar
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To: BlazingArizona

Your analogy sucks. In this case, the drug companies will be competing against themselves.


26 posted on 03/05/2009 6:02:03 AM PST by kabar
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To: kabar
Your analogy sucks. In this case, the drug companies will be competing against themselves.

Businesses in general have the right to sell the same product for different prices in different markets. Buyers in general have the right to shop around internationally for the best deal. Pharma, and pharma alone, has the special monopoly privilege of federal legislation preventing consumers from shopping around for their products. This is what McCain's legislation, which he promoted during the campaign, would change.

Sorry, but your Kool-Aid prescription is out of refills and no longer renewable.

27 posted on 03/05/2009 6:57:16 AM PST by BlazingArizona
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To: BlazingArizona
Nonsense. In many cases, foreign governments are dictating prices to the drug companies if they want to sell them in their countries. If they then sell them in the US market competing against the drug manufacturers who developed them, the unintended consequence will be for the drug companies to reduce supply and to invest less money in developing new ones. I want the drug companies to be in control of their own products, not the government.

Pharma, and pharma alone, has the special monopoly privilege of federal legislation preventing consumers from shopping around for their products.

Source please. And there are reasons for such controls, which have to do with public safety.

There are plenty of US products that are cheaper overseas than they are here, mainly due to the fact that the products would not be competitive in poorer markets. I can buy a pair of Nike snearkers cheaper in Seoul than I can here. Do you think Nike would allow its dealers in Seoul to sell their sneakers here?

28 posted on 03/05/2009 7:07:55 AM PST by kabar
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To: arthurus

I understand you argument, but why do all the other countries get a price break and it is up to the American public to bear the major costs of the research and development? I do not like subsidizing the rest of the world, just so they can buy cheap Rx drugs. It seems totally unfair to me.


29 posted on 03/05/2009 8:44:58 AM PST by rawhide
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To: rawhide

If the Americans don’t do it no one will and THERE WILL BE NO MORE RESEARCH. Buy where it is legally cheapest. You should do no other, but you should also fight the legalization of buying foreign drugs. Supporting this measure is very much akin to shooting yourself in the knee with 00 buck.


30 posted on 03/05/2009 8:52:33 AM PST by arthurus ( H.L. Mencken said, "Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.")
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To: kabar
Foreign countries do not "dictate prices to drug companies". Single-payer countries like Canada simply buy large quantities of drugs at once. They choose not to buy if they don't like the price, just as I do when I buy bulk toilet paper at Walmart. Market forces being what they are, drug companies sell for less to these bulk buyers, just like any other business. Nobody is being "dictated to" here, except for the American consumer, who has to bend over and accept a monopoly high price for prescriptions.

I can buy a pair of Nike sneakers cheaper in Seoul than I can here. Do you think Nike would allow its dealers in Seoul to sell their sneakers here?

The only leverage Nike, or any other company has when it sells cheaper overseas is threatening to cancel its contract with the foreign customer if it sells out of its designated region. The US government does nothing to enforce the arrangement. But because the Internet acts as the great disintermediator, smoothing markets for goods all over the world, such arrangements are notoriously 'leaky'. An American (or other) consumer can always find some place willing to sell at the lowest price. The result is that American consumers enjoy the lowest prices in the world for most consumer goods, including those produced overseas. Asian electronics, cars, and cameras sell for less in the US than they do in their own countries. Such is the power of the marketplace.

Pharma sales are the exception: US law explicitly forbids shopping around by consumers, which is precisely why McCain is trying to get drug importation legalized. If pharma weren't a special case, there would be no need for this bill. And "public safety", my rosy pink butt. Since we're talking about the FDA-approved real thing here, not knockoffs, there is no differential in safety.

31 posted on 03/05/2009 5:35:57 PM PST by BlazingArizona
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To: BlazingArizona
Foreign countries do not "dictate prices to drug companies". Single-payer countries like Canada simply buy large quantities of drugs at once. They choose not to buy if they don't like the price, just as I do when I buy bulk toilet paper at Walmart. Market forces being what they are, drug companies sell for less to these bulk buyers, just like any other business. Nobody is being "dictated to" here, except for the American consumer, who has to bend over and accept a monopoly high price for prescriptions.

You seem to have some idealized view of how international trade works. FYI: We are not playing on an even playing field. Foreign governments are manipulating currencies and subsidizing exports to make them more attractive to the American consumer. And they use various ways of making imports from the US more expensive and less attractive to their own consumers. It is why we have such huge trade deficits with these countries.

Negotiated Prices. But what about the market power that governments and quasi-governmental entities in Canada and the United States exercise by bulk buying? In the United States, for example, the Department of Veterans Affairs, buying on behalf of veterans, pays the lowest prices. State Medicaid programs, acting on behalf of their enrollees, typically pay the next lowest. If we allow the V.A. and Medicaid to use their clout to get discounts, how can we complain if the Canadian government chooses to bargain for lower prices on behalf of its own citizens?

The answer is that when Canada "bargains" with Pfizer or Eli Lilly it implicitly threatens to ignore the American companies' intellectual property rights. For example, if "negotiations" break down and the American company refuses to sell at the price Canada is asking, Canada reserves the right to ignore the drug patent and allow its domestic firms to produce a generic equivalent - a procedure called "compulsory licensing." In effect Canada says: Give us your drugs at a price we dictate or we'll ignore your patent and produce them ourselves.

The Impact of a Misaligned Yen on U.S. Automakers

The result is that American consumers enjoy the lowest prices in the world for most consumer goods, including those produced overseas. Asian electronics, cars, and cameras sell for less in the US than they do in their own countries. Such is the power of the marketplace.

LOL. First, taxes have alot to do with the price of consumer goods abroad, e.g., VAT, excise, etc. It is why gasoline is so much more expensive in Europe for example and cheaper in China.

There are plenty of places around the globe that have cheaper prices for consumer goods, e.g., Dubai, Honk Kong, etc.

Pharma sales are the exception: US law explicitly forbids shopping around by consumers, which is precisely why McCain is trying to get drug importation legalized. If pharma weren't a special case, there would be no need for this bill. And "public safety", my rosy pink butt. Since we're talking about the FDA-approved real thing here, not knockoffs, there is no differential in safety.

You should read the link I provided you on the situation in Canada. Should such a law pass, our drug companies would have to ramp up the production of brand name drugs for export so that they could be resold back to us at cheaper prices. Such a solution would hurt our drug industry and development of new drugs. There are also intellectual property and patent issues.

32 posted on 03/06/2009 7:04:43 AM PST by kabar
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