Assembly Health Committee To Hold Hearing on Prescription Drug Reimportation
The Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday is expected to hold a hearing on establishing a program to reimport lower-cost, U.S.-made prescription drugs from Canada to help reduce the state budget deficit and "protect favorite social programs from the chopping block," the Contra Costa Times reports. State legislators are considering a prescription drug reimportation program to reduce the budgets of programs to which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has proposed funding cuts, including Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. Prescription drug costs under Medi-Cal are estimated at $4.6 billion for fiscal year 2003-2004 and $5.4 billion for FY 2004-2005, according to Schwarzenegger's budget proposal. Representatives from the FDA and the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, as well as officials from Illinois and Minnesota -- both of which have approved prescription drug reimportation programs -- are expected to testify at the hearing.
David MacKay, CIPA executive director, said that Canadian pharmacies cannot support mass purchasing of medications by California or other states because U.S. pharmaceutical companies are restricting supplies to Canadian pharmacies and "blacklisting" those that export medications to U.S. residents, the Times reports. "It's not an option. We have no intention of informing California that we can subsidize their state budget," MacKay said (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 1/20). The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Jan. 6 approved a bill under which the city would establish a program to reimport lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada for city employees and residents (California Healthline, 1/9).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.