Orange County Supervisor Says He Will Ask Board To Study Reimportation of Prescription Drugs
Orange County Supervisor Chuck Smith on Tuesday said that he will ask the county Board of Supervisors to study the potential savings and legal liability of a program to allow an estimated 30,000 county employees, retirees and their dependents to reimport lower-cost, U.S.-manufactured prescription drugs from Canada, the Los Angeles Times reports. Smith said that the board should consider a reimportation program because county "health care costs are just astronomical" and that prescription drugs account for a large part of those costs. Tom McGinnis, director of pharmacy affairs at FDA, said that such a program might violate federal law if it is similar to programs in Springfield, Mass., and Minnesota that allow government employees to purchase prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies through the mail. "We'd be glad to talk to their attorneys and explain to them the parts of the federal law they'd be violating if they did a model like Springfield and some of the liability issues they might want to consider," McGinnis said. Tom Wilson, chair of the board, said that a reimportation program "raises a lot of questions," such as concerns about legal liability and the impact on the pharmaceutical industry. However, he added, "I see the positive impacts (in) saving our seniors money." In related news, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday will decide whether to support federal legislation that would allow the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada (Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times, 5/19).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.