|(They, the politicians and pundits)
|BUSH: "Under the law (we) passed, seniors
can choose to receive a drug discount card, saving them 10 to
25% of the retail price of most prescription drugs - and
millions of low-income seniors can get an additional $600 to
buy medicine." |
|KERRY: "You don't value families by denying
real prescription drug coverage to seniors, so big drug
companies can get another windfall...And together, we will
make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills
in half because they can't afford life-saving medicine."
|"This legislation should be referred to as the 'Get Your
Drugs from Who Knows Where Act' because no one - not the FDA,
not the pharmacists, not the doctors, not Senator Dorgan and
certainly not the patients - will know where the imported
drugs REALLY came from." |
Dr. Merrill Matthews,
Institute for Policy Innovation, a Texas think tank founded by
former Congressman Dick Armey (R-TX)
|"We should really fear S2328's side effects. The
bill's provisions would result in the crippling of
prescription drug research and development in the United
Charles G. Hardin, President of
RetireSafe.org, a group of about 300,000 seniors dedicated to
|"We should be focusing on the safe, practical alternatives
to risky importation including Medicare- approved discount
cards and the hundreds of patient-assistance and discount
programs (available through "www.helpingpatients.org" that
help millions of patients every year, and the provision of
more and better drug coverage." |
and Manufacturers of America
|"The United States represents the largest pharmaceutical
market in the world. Our taxpayers make substantial
investment in pharmaceutical research and development.
And yet Americans are still paying 30-75% more for their
prescriptions than consumers in Canada, the European Union and
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
|"I cannot explain to my mother any longer why she should
pay twice or two-thirds more than what is paid in Canada or
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS)
|"It's time to stop asking the outdated question of whether
we should allow it and start enacting solutions that will give
consumers the price relief and safety assurances they need."
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)
|"It's not about putting folks on a bus to go to Canada.
It's about the local pharmacy being able to do business
with pharmacies in Canada." |
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
|"I'm concerned about quality. I'm concerned about
Canadian law. I don't want to import a Canadian law.
Canada is concerned with the safety of Canadians, not
Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK)
|"People have come in to me showing me bottles with a big
grin on their face saying, 'Hey, look! I got this from
Canada and it was cheaper!' Then you look at the bottle
and the country of origin isn't specified." |
Blum M.D., Medical Director of United Cerebral Palsy of
Suffolk County, NY
|"The safety of drugs purchased from these sources cannot
be ensured. Drugs produced outside the United States
may be counterfeit." |
Elizabeth G. Durant, Bureau of
Customers and Border Protection
|"The FDA has consistently concluded that it is unable to
endorse a buyer-beware approach." |
John Taylor, FDA
Associate Commission for Regulatory Affairs
|(We, the people) |
|"Let's just allow folks the opportunity to decide for
themselves (for a change) what is best for them.
Government needs to get out of the nanny business." |
|"I prefer if you want to ruin the quality of (the) drug
market, you do under the eyes of the goverment instead of
putting more people in harm's way to save people a few
|"As scary as it may be, it always comes down to the money.
I need to save everywhere that I can.
Prescriptions are too costly." |
|"I think we can each take some responsibility for knowing
where we are buying our drugs. There are many countries
that have strict safety laws, and we can do our own research."
|"With each new prescription we become increasingly poor,
and imported drugs should not be unavailable to anyone who
wants to purchase them. We have supported the
pharmaceutical companies and their outrageous prices for years
and have finally reached the point where enough is enough."
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
PHARMACEUTICAL MARKET ACCESS & DRUG SAFETY ACT
|Would importing prescription drugs put our nation's
health at risk? Or is this the way to get more affordable
medicine for the people who need it? Where do you stand on
this proposed legislation?
Proponents say it's time government caught up with the
million or so people who are already saving money by getting their
prescriptions filled abroad. We need regulations to make sure
these drugs meet our standards of safety and quality.
Opponents say that quality and safety can never be fully
ensured if we import our drugs. Moreover, by driving prices
down, we'll slash the research and development dollars need to come
up with breakthrough new technologies.
|RESULTS OF VOTING |
||83.3 % |
||16.7 % |
ACCESS & DRUG SAFETY ACT
From New England to Los Angeles, Miami to Wisconsin, some one
million or so consumers, and even some states and local governments
are ignoring the law about importing prescription drugs into the
U.S. In response, Congress is looking at the best way to
change the law.
The House has already passed its Pharmaceutical Market Access Act
(HR2427). Meanwhile, similar legislation is making its way
slowly through the Senate. The bill getting the most support
is the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act (S2328)
which was created and sponsored by a diverse group of Republicans
and Democrats led by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Sen. Olympia Snowe
(R-ME). A total of 30 Senators are co-sponsors including
Senators McCain, Kennedy, Lott, Daschle, and Kerry.
Basically this legislation legalizes the import of prescription
drugs by both individuals and pharmacies for a projected savings to
consumers of $38 billion a year. Drugs from Canada could be
imported almost immediately. A year later, imports from the
European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland would
also become legal.
Numerous measures are included to ensure the safety and quality
of the medicines:
- Exporters and importers must be registered and approved by the
FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
- The FDA approves the plants where drugs are manufactured.
- The FDA approves the drugs themselves and can test incoming
- All imports require a valid prescription. Controlled
substances such as narcotics cannot be imported.
- All drug containers must be properly labeled.
- All medicines must have a chain of custody or pedigree that
documents every movement beginning at manufacture.
- Individual supplies may not exceed a 90-day quantity.
Under this plan, both importers (not individuals) and exporters
will have to pay fees ranging from $20,000 a year to as much as 1%
of the cost of the drugs they're exporting/importing. These
fees are adjustable annually and must cover, but not exceed, the
cost of operating this program.
Another section of this bill addresses restraint of trade
practices which pharmaceutical companies can and have used to
maintain their higher U.S. price point. Drug manufacturers
will not be allowed to make unnecessary or cosmetic changes to a
drug simply to put it into an unapproved category. In
addition, drug companies would not be allowed to discriminate
against pharmacies that export drugs by charging them higher prices
or limiting their supplies.