More than 200 House Members Call for Vote on Prescription Drug Reimportation Legislation
Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.), author of a bill that would allow U.S. residents to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs from other countries, on Wednesday said that 219 House members signed a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) urging him to schedule a vote on the measure, CongressDaily reports. Backers of the measure say that it is supported by a majority of representatives (CongressDaily, 5/26).
Gutknecht plans to hold a news conference Thursday with Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) calling on Hastert to act (Kaplan/Rodeffer, The Hill, 5/26). A Gutknecht spokesperson said, "We want to get this bill on the calendar this year." The House in 2003 voted 243-186 to pass a similar bill. The spokesperson said support for the measure is "as strong now as it was back then, if not more so" (CongressDaily, 5/26).
The drug industry and the Bush administration "strongly oppose" the bill, according to The Hill.
In related news, Emanuel and Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) on Tuesday spoke to 20 Johnson & Johnson executives, calling on the drug industry to address complaints about rising prescription drug prices.
Emanuel said, "While we need to deal with money for research and development, we need to deal with costs American people are paying for drugs." Emanuel added that he would support a permanent 100% tax credit on research and development costs if drug companies agreed to reduce prices (The Hill, 5/26).