Belshe Indicates Schwarzenegger Administration Opposition To Four Prescription Drug Reimportation Bills
Health and Human Services Agency Kim Belshe on Thursday sent a letter to state lawmakers that indicated Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will veto four bills that would allow the purchase of prescription drugs from Canada unless the bills are revised to include a new program to provide discounts for uninsured low-income state residents, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Folmar, San Jose Mercury News, 8/20). The letter addressed:
SB 1149, sponsored by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), which would require the Board of Pharmacy to establish a Web site that would list Canadian pharmacies licensed by their provinces;
AB 1957, sponsored by Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Los Angeles), would direct the Department of Health Services to develop a Web site by July 1, 2005, that would list prices in California and Canada for the 50 most commonly prescribed brand-name medications (California Healthline, 8/18);
SB 1333, which would require the state to consider the purchase of prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies and would relate to medications for beneficiaries of the state AIDS Drug Assistance Program and Medi-Cal (California Healthline, 5/27); and
- SB 1144, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco), which would require the Department of General Services to consider Canadian suppliers in the purchase of prescription drugs for state prisons, hospitals and agencies and would allow Medi-Cal to purchase medications from Canada (California Healthline, 6/17).
Frommer said that he does not plan to revise AB 1957, adding, "While the governor's proposal might complement efforts to allow Californians to purchase safe and affordable drugs from Canada, it's not a substitute."
Burton criticized the letter. "If he wants to veto a bill that saves the money for the state and consumers, that's his business," Burton said, adding, "It's a choice between the general fund, the consuming public and the pharmaceutical industry. And, unfortunately it seems like the general fund and the consumers lost and the pharmaceutical industry won" (San Jose Mercury News, 8/20). 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.