Group of Senators Discuss Plans To Introduce New Prescription Drug Reimportation Bill
A "powerful" group of senators have begun to discuss plans to introduce a "scaled-back" bill that would allow the reimportation of lower-cost, U.S.-manufactured prescription drugs from Canada, The Hill reports. The House last summer passed a bill (HR 2427) that would allow the purchase of FDA-approved prescription drugs from Canada and other industrialized nations without HHS safety certification, but the bill stalled in the Senate. As a result, the group of senators -- which includes Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- may introduce a reimportation bill that would focus only on Canada. "I'm pretty confident we can move" such a bill without a provision that would require HHS to certify the safety of the practice, Grassley said, adding, "I would vouch for Canada, but I would not vouch for Mexico." Jim Manley, a spokesperson for Kennedy, said that many senators could support such a bill, adding, "There are a lot of people having a lot of different conversations" about reimportation. Senate staff members said that a "narrow" reimportation bill could reach the floor after the budget resolution, The Hill reports. According to The Hill, Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.), who sponsored HR 2427, said that he is "much more optimistic" about the prospects of a reimportation bill in the Senate after he attended a strategy session on the issue last month with McCain and Dorgan. However, Senate sources said that opposition such a bill from some congressional leaders and the Bush administration make the prospects for enactment this year "slim," The Hill reports (Cusack, The Hill, 2/11).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.