Sacramento County Will Research Canadian Prescription Drug Reimportation Options
Two Sacramento County supervisors this week asked officials from the county's Health and Human Services Department to examine the feasibility of reimporting lower-cost, U.S.-made prescription drugs from Canada, the Sacramento Bee reports. County HHS officials in May will report to the Board of Supervisors about Canadian pharmacies' ability to provide medications; the legality of reimporting medications; methods the county might employ to ensure the medications' safety; the effect of a possible loss of drug company discounts and free drugs on cost savings because of reimporation; and overall expected savings. The county has budgeted $9.5 million for prescription drugs for its clinics and other health service programs, and it receives $3.9 million in free drugs and "steep discounts" from manufacturers, according to the Bee. If the county could achieve savings through reimportation, those funds could be used for other programs that "face drastic reductions, and in some cases, outright elimination," Supervisor Illa Collin said, the Bee reports. Such savings also could sustain programs such as the county's Well Child Clinic, which provided 3,908 children with primary care services last year and has been targeted for funding cuts. Supervisor Roger Dickinson said, "If there are legal uncertainties about it, I think we ought to be willing to take on that legal challenge because if we could realize $5 (million), $6 (million), $7 million a year in savings as a result of this, it's certainly worth the investment." At least 25 states and dozens of cities nationwide are considering drug reimportation plans, according to the Bee (Jahn, Sacramento Bee, 3/18).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.