[SeMissourian.com] Overcast ~ 62°F  
Flash Flood Watch
Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

Senate blocks bid to allow prescription drug imports

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The Senate effectively killed a bid to allow consumers to buy their prescription medicines abroad Monday, requiring U.S. officials to certify the safety and effectiveness of such drugs.

The certification amendment, passed on a 49-40 vote, would require health officials to do something they have long said they cannot.

Because of that, the vote undercut a second measure that would permit prescription drug imports from Food and Drug Administration-approved sources in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan and New Zealand.

The Bush administration opposes allowing imports of prescription drugs, and the White House had threatened a veto.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the certification amendment, introduced by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., a "poison pill" for the drug-imports legislation. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., acknowledged it voided his bid to allow the purchase of drugs abroad.

Overseas, drugs can cost two-thirds less than they do in the United States, where prices for brand-name drugs are among the highest in the world.

Allowing imports from those countries would drive down U.S. brand-name drug prices, Dorgan has said.

Both the Cochran and Dorgan measures were amendments to broader FDA legislation.

The idea of allowing prescription drug imports enjoys broad popular support. However, lower prices overseas would not automatically translate into large savings for domestic consumers, according to a 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office.

The study found that allowing drug imports from a broad set of countries would cut U.S. drug spending by $40 billion over 10 years, about a 1 percent savings.

The pharmaceutical industry vehemently opposes allowing drug imports, arguing that they could leave the nation vulnerable to dangerous counterfeits.

Similar drug-import legislation is pending in the House.

Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on semissourian.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

Hogwash! The pharmaceutical lobbyists are powerful supporters of policians. To believe that we are the only country who can verify the safety of our own drugs is a smoke screen. Most prescription drugs are American, but Americans pay more for them than other countries, including Canada where the cost of everything is higher than here.

-- Posted by gurusmom on Tue, May 8, 2007, at 1:03 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: