Sen. Gregg Announces Plans To Introduce Legislation To Allow Reimportation of Prescription Drugs
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) on Tuesday said that he plans this week to introduce legislation that would allow the reimportation of lower-cost, U.S.-manufactured prescription drugs from Canada and other countries, the Washington Post reports (Washington Post, 6/2). The proposed legislation would call on FDA officials to create a system within one year to allow the reimportation of drugs from Canada and to allow in three years the reimportation of drugs from some European Union countries, according to a committee document obtained by CongressDaily. The measure also would require drug manufacturers, wholesalers and other facilities involved in reimportation to register with FDA and pay a fee that would supplement the cost of implementing and maintaining the system. The proposal would only allow the importation of FDA-approved drugs from FDA-approved manufacturing plants. According to CongressDaily, Gregg's proposal has more restrictions than a bipartisan Senate reimportation bill (S 2328) introduced in April by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D); Gregg's bill is expected to be the "preferred vehicle" for legislative action (Schuler, CongressDaily, 6/2). Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said that he has concerns about counterfeit drugs and drugs of unknown origin and is continuing to have conversations with lawmakers both in favor and against the issue, the Post reports. The Post reports that "Democrats are divided on how quickly to push for Senate floor action on reimportation, but action seems unlikely for several weeks at the very least" (Washington Post, 6/2). Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has also introduced reimportation legislation; however, it is "unlikely" that Gregg would give Grassley's bill a forum in committee before his own bill, CongressDaily reports. Gregg said he could mark up the bill before the July 4 recess (CongressDaily, 6/2).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.