Reimportation at Issue in Homeland Security Appropriations
Provisions that would permit U.S. residents to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs from abroad have become a "major sticking point" to settling negotiations on the House and Senate fiscal year 2007 Homeland Security appropriations bills, CongressDaily reports (CongressDaily, 9/19).
The Senate in July voted 68-32 to approve an amendment that would prohibit seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of prescription drugs purchased from Canadian pharmacies by U.S. residents.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) proposed the amendment as part of the FY 2007 Homeland Security appropriations bill.
The House has approved two FY 2007 appropriations bills -- Homeland Security and Agriculture -- that include provisions to allow the purchase of prescription drugs from abroad. The provision included in the House Homeland Security appropriations bill would allow the purchase of prescription drugs from any nation (California Healthline, 7/12).
Despite "widespread support among rank-and-file Republicans in both chambers," the measure has prompted opposition from the pharmaceutical industry as well as White House and GOP leaders, according to CongressDaily.
Senate Appropriations Chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has offered compromise language that would block reimportation until FDA certifies that prescription drugs from other nations meet safety requirements.
However, some reimportation supporters have argued that Cochran's proposal would provide a means for the FDA chief to halt reimportation altogether by refusing to certify safety (CongressDaily, 9/19).