Congress Might Approve Legislation To Allow Prescription Drug Reimportation This Year
Increased "discontent" about high prescription drug costs might prompt the passage of legislation by the end of the year that would allow the purchase of lower-cost medications from other nations, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that such legislation would receive at least 75 votes in the Senate. According to the Inquirer, such legislation, which is "widely endorsed" by Democrats, also has support from some Republicans, such as Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
In June, AARP, which supports such legislation and has "plenty of clout" among lawmakers, released a study that found the use of imported medications in Europe reduced costs but did not compromise safety or disrupt supplies, the Inquirer reports. AARP also said that the practice did not limit the profits of pharmaceutical companies or affect their research and development efforts.
However, the pharmaceutical industry, which opposes reimportation legislation, has "clout of its own" among lawmakers, and the Bush administration has "remained skeptical" of such legislation, according to the Inquirer (Mondics, Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/23).