California Senate Health and Human Services Committee Approves Prescription Drug Reimportation Bills
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday voted 8-2 to approve two bills that would allow the state to reimport prescription drugs from Canada, the Contra Costa Times reports. SB 1144, sponsored by state Sen. John Burton (D), would allow the Department of General Services to purchase prescription drugs from Canada (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 3/11). The Department of General Services purchases medications for prisoners, state hospitals and state agencies (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 3/11). SB 1149, sponsored by state Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D), would allow the state to establish a consumer Web site with links to Canadian pharmacies approved by the Board of Pharmacy (Contra Costa Times, 3/11). The committee also passed a bill (SB 1170) that would require the state Department of Health Services to establish prices for some prescription drug ingredients and a resolution that calls for the federal government to increase regulation of direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements. Anthony Wright, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access, said that the bills seek to end "price gouging by the world's most profitable industry," adding, "We're supporting all of them to make the case to lower the cost of and increase access to prescription drugs" (San Jose Mercury News, 3/11). However, Barbara Morrow, general counsel for the biotechnology advocacy group California Healthcare Institute, said that prescription drugs are expensive because companies must recoup the estimated $800 million cost of each drug's development (Contra Costa Times, 3/11).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.