Government News
Update on Drug Reimports
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 20 page 15-15

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) have asked aides to draft plans that would enable state insurance programs to buy prescription drugs from Canadian suppliers, according to a story in the Washington Post on September 24.

The two governors join Mayor Michael J. Albano (D) of Springfield, Mass., who became the first government official in the United States to establish a drug-reimportation program.

In the U.S. Congress, 142 House Democrats sent a letter to members of the conference committee that is trying to work out differences between House and Senate versions of a Medicare bill (HR 1/S 1) suggesting that they are "unlikely to support a Medicare drug benefit that does not include" language making it legal to buy FDA-approved drugs from Canada.

In July 243 House members voted for legislation permitting reimportation of FDA-approved drugs from Canada and specified European countries (Psychiatric News, August 15). That bill became part of HR 1.

Influential lawmakers are divided on the reimportation proposal. Senate Finance Committee Chair Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) supports reimportation, but House Ways and Means Committee Chair Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) does not. The Food and Drug Administration opposes the legislation. ▪

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