Assembly Approves Bill To Encourage State Agencies To Purchase Lower-Cost Prescription Drugs From Canada
The Assembly on Wednesday voted 43-19 to approve a bill (SB 1144) that would encourage the state prison system and other state agencies to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, the Contra Costa Times reports (Marimow, Contra Costa Times, 8/26). The legislation, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco), would require officials for the Department of General Services to consider Canadian suppliers when they purchase prescription drugs for state prisons, hospitals and agencies and would allow Medi-Cal to purchase medications from Canada (California Healthline, 8/20). The legislation, which will return to the Senate for final consideration, requires the state to obtain federal approval to purchase prescription drugs from Canada (Contra Costa Times, 8/26).
Health Secretary Kim Belshe last week sent a letter to state lawmakers that indicated Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) would veto the bill unless the legislation is revised to include a new program, called California Rx, which would provide discounts for uninsured low-income state residents with annual incomes less than 300% of the federal poverty level (California Healthline, 8/20).