Tuesday, September 23, 2003

From the Iowa Channel:
Vilsack Launches Study On Canadian Drug Savings

Gov. Tom Vilsack wants to know how much the state could save by buying prescription drugs in Canada, where prices are a lot cheaper.

Vilsack has announced a study that will look at the costs of covering prescription drugs bought for state workers and for seniors in the state's Medicaid program.

Iowa spends about $300 million a year on prescriptions drugs.

Vilsack said if a survey shows Canadian drugs would be considerably cheaper, officials would pressure drug companies and insurance carriers to provide drugs at the lower price.

The governor said if that fails, officials will pressure the federal government to lift its ban on importing drugs.

From WTVW (IL):
Blagojevich takes prescription drug issue to Capitol Hill
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich plans to spend Wednesday on Capitol Hill lobbying for a proposal allowing state and local governments to import prescription drugs from Canada.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff says the governor has scheduled a news conference. He's also scheduled meetings with House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senator Edward Kennedy.

Blagojevich also hopes to speak to officials from the Food and Drug Administration. He wants to reverse the federal government's prohibition on drug imports.

From MLive.com:
Business offers cheaper medicine
A company that helps people buy prescription drugs from Canada opened Monday in Jackson, promising customers a cheaper alternative as traditional pharmacies cry foul.

Jay Wentzel, owner of the American Drug Club of Jackson at the northeast corner of Cortland and Mechanic streets, said the uninsured or underinsured can save an average of 50 percent on their prescriptions by getting them through his business.

From the Superior (WI) Daily Telegram:
Walls between U.S. consumers and cheaper Canadian drugs should be torn down (editorial)
With prices of prescription drugs continuing to rise, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle says he may lobby the federal government to allow the state to buy drugs from Canada for state employees. It could mean joining Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in trying to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to drop the policy that bans states from buying drugs from Canada, where they can cost less than half what they do in the United States.

Blagojevich has asked the other governors for help, and at first glance it sounds like a good move for Doyle. After all, the state provides benefit plans for 240,000 state and local government workers through the Department of Employee Trust Funds, and drug prices are expected to go up 17 percent this year. That’s significant when you consider that Wisconsin pays about $100 million annually for drugs for government workers.

From Newsday:
Two-Med Treatment Encouraging Against SARS
A drug cocktail shows promise in the treatment of SARS, according to the results of a small Canadian study.

Patients given a combination of interferon and steroid medications showed quicker improvement in lung function compared with those who received only steroids. They were weaned off oxygen about a week sooner than patients who did not receive the combination therapy.

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