Schwarzenegger Faces Growing Pressure From Lawmakers on Reimportation of Prescription Drugs
Pressure on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to "clear the way for California residents to import cheaper drugs from Canada" is "mounting," as three state lawmakers introduce or prepare to introduce bills intended to make it easier to reimport lower-cost, U.S.-made prescription drugs from Canada, the Orange County Register reports (Hinch, Orange County Register, 1/30). Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Glendale) last month said that he plans to introduce two reimportation bills. One bill would require the Department of Health Services to establish a Web site that would direct users to state-approved Canadian pharmacies. The second bill would require the state to determine the amount of money that a reimportation program would save and to lobby the federal government for permission to establish such a program. Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco) last month introduced a bill that would allow the state to reimport prescription drugs from Canada for prisoners (California Healthline, 1/23). In addition, Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) last week introduced a bill (SB 1149) that would require the Board of Pharmacy to provide information to state residents about online pharmacies located outside the United States that do not comply with U.S. standards for the shipping, handling and dispensing of prescription drugs (California Healthline, 1/27). Schwarzenegger "has taken no position on importing drugs from Canada," but when he does, he could "transform a brewing fight between a few states and the federal government into a major dispute between the nation's most powerful state official, a federal administration of his own party and an industry that is one of California's economic engines," the Register reports. Schwarzenegger spokesperson Ashley Snee said the governor plans to work with lawmakers on the issue (Orange County Register, 1/30).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.