Friday, September 26, 2003

From the Brainerd (MN) Dispatch:
State may look north for cheaper prescription drugs
Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Wednesday asked the state's health and human services commissioner to look into importing drugs from Canada or other countries.

The directive follows a similar move by Illinois earlier this month, but Minnesota officials are casting a wider net.

While Illinois is only considering allowing state employees and retirees to import the drugs, Pawlenty is eyeing the imported drugs for state employees and those on public assistance.

From the Boston Channel:
Push On To Let Patients Buy Canadian Drugs
Despite continued opposition from the Bush administration and Congressional leaders, pressure is building from state and local officials to let patients buy their prescription drugs from Canada.

A week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took steps to shut down the Canadian company supplying prescription drugs to city workers in Springfield, Mass., two other governors were aggressively exploring the same idea.

From the Charleston (WV) Post Courier:
Seniors take trips for drugs
--Melvyn and Fern Pylka spent the sunshine hours of their wedding anniversary last week on a charter bus, hoping to toast their 48 years together with a nice, big price break on Fosamax, a popular drug to treat osteoporosis.

Across the aisle, Ray and Virginia Park, who last year drove to Mexico to buy prescription drugs, played cribbage and wondered how and whether they can pay for expensive drugs such as Actos and Zocor, brands as familiar to them as the names of their grandchildren.

From the Peoria (IL) Journal Star:
Governor rebuffed on drug proposal
"No one is suggesting that we import prescription drugs that aren't safe," said Blagojevich, responding to the FDA's concerns at a Capitol Hill press conference. "But ... why not work to help more prescription drugs manufactured abroad meet your guidelines, so that more consumers can eventually purchase them and save money?"

From the Des Moines (IO) Register:
Governor considers drug buy in Canada
Gov. Tom Vilsack says Iowa should look into how much it could save by buying its employees' drugs through Canada, adding that he's considering a push to make the practice legal.

The governor said Thursday that he would send his human-services director to Canada next month to talk with authorities there about the possibility of buying medicines for the 70,000 people covered under the state's insurance plans.

He said that if the savings seemed significant enough, he would argue for changes in federal law to allow such purchases.

Cross-border web pharmacies could hurt Canada
In a report released Wednesday, the Vancouver-based think-tank said U.S. drug makers are already taking steps to reduce their supply of certain drugs to Canada -- in reaction to cross-border internet sales undercutting U.S. prices.

According to Fraser Institute director of health and pharmaceutical policy research, John Graham, the effects of the pharmaceutical companies' strategy could become widespread.

From WIFR (IL):
Canadian Drugs
Gov. Rod Blagojevich was on Capitol Hill Wednesday, urging legislators to let state and local governments import drugs from Canada. We can see a huge cost savings from imported drugs, but some say it's not worth the risk.

Affordable prescription drugs opened its doors on North Alpine Road about a week ago, and the phones are ringing off the hook as stateliners look for a remedy to the high cost of prescription drugs. All you need is a prescription, then McAllister's store forwards it to a pharmacy in Canada. The pharmacy ships the drugs about ten days later.

From KSDK (MO):
Blagojevich Takes Fight For Cheaper RX to Capitol Hill
Prescription drugs bought in Canada are far less expensive than the same drugs purchased in the U.S. That's why Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is pushing for the right to have states import the lower cost drugs. But not everyone finds thinks that is a good idea.

“If we can pass those savings onto our consumers, onto our seniors, and onto our taxpayers, why wouldn't we,” says Blagojevich. “Because the Food and Drug Administration says we can't.”

Cross-border web pharmacies could hurt Canada
Canadians could lose access to brand-name prescription drugs, if something isn't done to curb internet pharmacies' sales to American consumers. That's the warning in a new study from the Fraser Institute.

From the Poplar Bluff (MO) Daily Republic:
Imported drug issue is boiling
Debate over letting Americans buy cheaper prescription drugs is simmering in Congress, but it has reached the boiling point outside the nation's capital.

"People are so angry right now. This is a very, very emotional issue," said Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a Missouri Republican who engineered House approval of a drug importation bill. "We have got to, as a party, do something about it, because it is immoral. It is very immoral that Americans should have to subsidize the world."

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