Wednesday, May 05, 2004

From the Palm Beach (FL) Post:
CVS Chief: Import Prescription Drugs
Breaking with others in his industry, the chief executive of CVS Pharmacy called Wednesday for legalizing imports of prescription drugs. The statement by the nation's largest wholesale purchaser of prescription medicines came a day after the Bush administration's health secretary said legalizing imports appears inevitable.

Support is also growing in Congress, even among Republicans who previously opposed importation but now say constituents are clamoring for relief from soaring prescription prices.

``While many in our industry believe that the importation issue is a fundamentally flawed concept and oppose it without exception, I come with a slightly different view,'' Thomas Ryan, CVS chairman and chief executive officer, told a government task force on drug importation.

From Yahoo News:
CVS Drugstore Chain Backs Drug Imports to U.S.
The No. 2 U.S. drugstore chain on Wednesday proposed a system that would allow Americans to legally and safely purchase cheaper medicines from Canada and other nations through registered suppliers.

CVS Corp., which buys $16 billion worth of drugs and fills 400 million prescriptions each year, told a federal panel investigating importation that CVS supports a safe import system until world prices come into better balance.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Pawlenty prods drug task force
Gov. Tim Pawlenty beckoned an administration task force Wednesday to "light the pathway" toward federally backed reimportation of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

But the panel grappled with whether to focus on balancing global drug prices currently skewed sharply against U.S. consumers or creating a new system to ensure imported medicines are safe.

From the Financial Times:
Americans lured by lower prices
While Europeans are debating the dynamism of the US drugs industry, Americans are getting closer to adopting aspects of the European model.

The US already has a small amount of parallel trading in a grey legal area, mostly drugs bought from internet pharmacies based in Canada where drugs are considerably cheaper.

There are two bills before the US Senate, and a third expected soon, that would allow cheap drugs to be imported from Canada.

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