HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson Names Chair, Other Members of Task Force on Prescription Drug Reimportation
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson has named Surgeon General Richard Carmona as chair of the 13-member Task Force on Drug Importation, which will conduct a study on the safety of prescription drug reimportation from Canada and other industrialized nations, CongressDaily reports. The study is required by the new Medicare law. Thompson also named the other 12 members of the task force -- new CMS Administrator Mark McClellan; seven other HHS officials; and representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Justice Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget (Rovner, CongressDaily, 3/17). The task force can consult with other federal officials and will hold five "listening sessions" to discuss the issue of reimportation with consumer groups, health care purchasers, providers, health care industry representatives, international stakeholders and the public (HHS release, 3/16). Thompson said, "I want to find out first can we do it safely, and if so, how we can do it safely" (Reuters, 3/16). Carmona said, "I am looking forward to working with task force members as we conduct a fair and objective evaluation based on the science and information available" (HHS release, 3/16). Thompson said that the task force could complete its work as early as this summer (Kemper, Los Angeles Times, 3/17). Under the Medicare law, the task force has until Dec. 1 to make its recommendations (CongressDaily, 3/17).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.