AARP Survey Finds Support for Legalization of Prescription Drug Reimportation
AARP on Wednesday released a nationwide survey that found four of every five elderly U.S. residents support the legalization of the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada and other nations, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. The survey, conducted last weekend by Knowledge Networks, included interviews with 1,267 U.S. residents ages 50 and older. According to the survey, 79% of respondents support the legalization of importation, 13% have no opinion and 9% oppose the move (Gibson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 7/15). The survey found that the "sentiment in favor of cross-border medicine shipments cuts across demographic, ideological, and even party lines," the Boston Globe reports. The survey also found that 79% of respondents cited the reimportation issue as an important election concern. According to the Globe, the survey is "among the most comprehensive to date focusing exclusively on importation and suggests it will be an issue among voters" because about 66% of U.S. residents ages 50 and older vote. Michael Naylor, director of advocacy for AARP, said the survey indicates that political candidates can avoid the reimportation issue in their campaigns "only at their own peril." He added, "I have spoken to groups of Americans all over the country, and this one really resonates with them" (Rowland, Boston Globe, 7/15).
AARP hopes that the results of the survey will "press Congress into passing" a bipartisan Senate bill (S 2328) that would legalize prescription drug reimportation from Canada and other nations, the Sun-Sentinel reports (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 7/15). AARP to date has spent about $1 million on advertisements to promote the legislation (Boston Globe, 7/15). Under the bill, U.S. residents could reimport as much as a 90-day supply of prescription drugs from FDA-approved Canadian pharmacies for personal use. After 90 days, the legislation would allow licensed pharmacists and prescription drug wholesalers to reimport medications from Canada. In addition, U.S. residents who travel to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland or current European Union nations could return with as much as a 90-day supply of prescription drugs for personal use. After one year, pharmacists and wholesalers could reimport medication from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland or European Union nations that were members as of Jan. 1, 2003. Pharmacists and wholesalers that reimport prescription drugs would have to register with FDA; pay fees of as much as 1% of the price of the medications to fund the cost of additional federal inspectors and customs agents; and track and document the chain of custody of medications (California Healthline, 7/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.