Assembly Health Committee Approves Bill To Establish Prescription Drug Reimportation Web Site
The Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday voted to approve legislation (AB 1957) that would require the Department of Health Services to establish a Web site to facilitate reimportation of lower-cost, U.S.-made prescription drugs from Canadian online pharmacies that meet certain safety requirements, the Ventura County Star reports. The Web site would list prices of drugs in Canada and the United States and direct state residents to Canadian pharmacies that have been screened by state officials, are licensed in their provinces, require prescriptions from patients' physicians, only sell drugs approved by Canadian public health agencies and do not require customers to sign a liability waiver. In addition, the bill would require the Department of General Services to create a pilot program through which state agencies could purchase drugs from Canada. Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Glendale), the bill's sponsor, said the legislation is necessary because "Americans are paying more than any other country for prescription medications, and there's no good reason why." Ignacio Hernandez, a spokesperson for California Medical Association, said CMA is supporting the bill, adding, "Physicians are concerned about the costs of drugs and doing whatever we can to reduce them. This would allow Californians who choose on their own to go to Canada to choose safe avenues to make their purchases." However, Fred Noteware of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said that facilitating prescription drug purchases through a state-run Web site could cause liability problems for the state. The bill now goes to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, which must act on it by April 23 (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 4/14).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.