Wednesday, May 19, 2004

From Bloomberg:
U.S. Senate to Hear Testimony on Importing Drugs From Canada
U.S. senators will hear testimony today about the safety of importing drugs from Canada as support grows among Republican and Democratic lawmakers to legalize purchases from countries where drug prices are lower.

Senators including Republicans Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Charles Grassley of Iowa, and a group led by North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan and Maine Republican Olympia Snowe are pressing to legalize imports to reduce medical costs for state employees, retirement programs and the elderly.

From the Fort Wayne (IN) News Sentinel:
Coleman to push safety provisions in bill to allow drug imports
Sen. Norm Coleman said he would abandon his opposition to the importation of cheaper prescription drugs if a new bill includes a set of safety provisions he will introduce this week.

Coleman, R-Minn., has long argued against importing drugs from countries such as Canada because he said the safety of the drugs could not be guaranteed.

On Wednesday, he said he was hopeful that his safety proposals would be adopted into legislation being prepared by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who chairs the Senate Health Committee.

Access to Canadian internet pharmacies subject of U.S. lawsuit
Manitoba's internet pharmacies are at the centre of a class-action lawsuit being filed in the United States.

The Minnesota Seniors' Federation and other plaintiffs claim that nine major drug companies have conspired to block the supply of drugs to Canadian wholesalers and pharmacies that sell them to Americans.

From Minnesota Public Radio:
Seniors group files lawsuit over Canada imports
The suit claims the drug companies are conspiring to limit drug sales to any Canadian pharmacy that sells prescription drugs to Americans. Chicago-based attorney Marvin Miller filed the suit with the help of the Minnesota Senior Federation. He's asking the court to make it a class action suit, so it would include all affected consumers, not just the three plaintiffs named in the filing. He says consumers would benefit if drug companies allowed cross-border sales because of increased competition between American and Canadian pharmacies. Miller says he's seeking attorneys' fees, unspecified damages and a stop to the companies' anti-import efforts.

"We believe that they did meet, that they did confer and that they implemented a policy or policies to threaten to cut off the supply of pharmaceuticals to Canadian wholesalers and pharmacies when those prescription drugs would come back into the United States," Miller says.

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