Reimportation Bill Could Be Combined With Internet Pharmacy Measure
In an attempt to "bolster its outlook," supporters of a bill (S 2328) that would allow the reimportation of prescription drugs from other nations could combine it with separate legislation that would regulate Internet pharmacies, CongressDaily reports (Heil, CongressDaily, 6/29). Under the bill, sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), U.S. residents could reimport as much as a 90-day supply of prescription drugs from FDA-approved Canadian pharmacies for personal use. After 90 days, the legislation would allow licensed pharmacists and prescription drug wholesalers to reimport medications from Canada. In addition, U.S. residents who travel to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland or current European Union nations could return with as much as a 90-day supply of prescription drugs for personal use. After one year, pharmacists and wholesalers could reimport medication from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland or European Union nations that were members as of Jan. 1, 2003. Pharmacists and wholesalers that reimport prescription drugs would have to register with FDA; pay fees of as much as 1% of the price of the medications to fund the cost of additional federal inspectors and customs agents; and track and document the chain of custody of medications from manufacturer to consumer (California Healthline, 6/17).
A spokesperson for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who co-sponsored the reimportation bill, said that combining the two measures is "something we'd like to explore." According to CongressDaily, combining the two bills could "allay the concerns of some senators who have not endorsed the reimportation bill because it does not address Internet pharmacy safety." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), one of the authors of the Internet pharmacy bill, said that she would consider combining the bills but added, "I'm looking at any bill that's moving" (CongressDaily, 6/29).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.