Republican Leaders Propose Reimportation Changes
Staff members for House Republican leaders on Thursday submitted proposed changes to the fiscal year Homeland Security spending bill that would "weaken prescription drug reimportation provisions" lawmakers agreed to earlier in the day, CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 9/22).
On Thursday, House and Senate negotiators on a $33.7 billion FY 2007 Homeland Security appropriations bill reached a tentative agreement on prescription drug reimportation provisions that have delayed passage of the legislation for several days.
Under the agreement, the final Homeland Security appropriations bill would include a provision under which U.S. residents could personally transport as much as a 90-day supply of prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies. The provision would not allow U.S. residents to purchase prescription drugs from other nations through the Internet or by mail.
The Senate in July voted 68-32 to approve an amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations bill sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that would prohibit seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of prescription drugs purchased from Canadian pharmacies by U.S. residents.
The House has approved two appropriations bills -- Homeland Security and Agriculture -- with provisions that would allow the purchase of prescription drugs from other nations. The provision included in the House Homeland Security appropriations bill would allow the purchase of prescription drugs from any nation (American Health Line, 9/22).
The changes proposed Thursday would permit people in the U.S. to purchase drugs for personal use from other countries only with "documentation of intended use from a U.S.-licensed physician responsible for the individual's treatment." The proposed prohibitions also would apply to biological products, including infused drugs, such as dialysis solution; injected drugs; drugs that are inhaled during surgery; and drugs that are intended for topical use or in the eyes.
Rep. Jo Anne Emerson (R-Mo.), who wrote the original proposed amendment allowing the overseas purchase of medications by mail or through the Internet, said the proposal is a "deal-breaker" that would serve to "basically gut the entire intent" of the previous compromise. A spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee said, "We are working with the conferees to develop an acceptable compromise" (CongressDaily, 9/22).