Skip to comments.Dorga, Snowe, McCain, Stabenow Introduce Bipartisan Prescription Drug Importation Bill
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 Administrations (FDAs) 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 thats 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 Michigans 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.
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Great news, since Rx brand drugs cost so little in other countries.
McCain is hanging with Olympia Snowe? I’m shocked./sarc
"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
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.”
And yet I’m sure they all would be dead set against Walmart being able to offer 4.00 prescription drugs....
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.
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 . . .
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...
Didn't Wal Mart already do that?
This will hurt US drug companies and the development of new drugs.
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.
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.
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.
The sponsors forgot to mention this will mean U.S. companies will then invent as many new drugs as Canada, Europe and other freeloaders.
I agree with this.
“This also increases the risk of sub-standard drugs “
they are FDA approved drugs
capitalism means less government control over the economy. Which is what this is about.