Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Makes Debate Over Reimportation ‘Moot,’ Former HHS Secretary Writes
"[I]nstead of" seeking to legalize the reimportation of lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, state officials in California and elsewhere "should be asking how they can help their seniors enroll in the new, affordable and safe Medicare drug benefit," former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson writes in a San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece.
AARP has said that even with premiums, deductibles and copayments under the Medicare drug benefit, most U.S. residents likely will spend less on prescription drugs obtained through a Medicare drug plan than they would if they paid the "full cost of the drugs from Canada or elsewhere," Thompson writes. Moreover, he adds, there are "safety concerns" with medications imported from Canada because FDA inspections "have consistently found that a significant percentage of drugs advertised as 'Canadian' actually come from other countries."
According to Thompson, "the establishment and implementation of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit has provided our nation's seniors with access to affordable, safe and effective drugs, without looking beyond our borders. At least with regard to our seniors -- by far the largest group of consumers for prescription drugs -- the debate [over reimportation] should now be moot" (Thompson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/19).