California Moves Away From Reimportation, Looks for New Ways To Address Rx Drug Prices
California health care advocates have "decided that Canada couldn't do much to lower drug costs in the United States" and are instead turning to other legislation and ballot measures to provide lower prices, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Last year, prescription drug reimportation was a "very sexy political issue," with lawmakers passing four bills that would have encouraged the practice, according to Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
By contrast, there is only one reimportation bill (AB 73) pending in the Assembly this year (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/10). The legislation, by Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Los Angeles), would establish a state-run Web site to direct residents to pharmacies in Canada, Ireland and Britain for lower-cost prescription drugs (California Healthline, 6/6).
Frommer also is sponsoring legislation (AB 75) similar to Proposition 79, a ballot measure that would require drug companies to provide discounts for uninsured and underinsured residents or be excluded from Medi-Cal.
Anthony Wright -- executive director of Health Access, which supports Proposition 79 -- said the initiative would allow the state to "use our own bargaining power more effectively."
A rival measure, Proposition 78, is sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry and would ask drug makers to voluntarily provide discounts to low-income residents. Proposition 78 is similar to a bill (SB 19) that failed earlier this year (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/10).