Senate, Assembly Health Committees Approve Bills To Facilitate Prescription Drug Reimportation
Legislation under consideration in the Legislature that would help facilitate the reimportation of lower-cost, U.S.-manufactured prescription drugs from Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday passed the Senate and Assembly health committees, which were "considered hurdles for the measures," the Contra Costa Times reports. The bills, previously approved in their chambers of origin, include:
SB 1144, which would require the Department of General Services to consider Canadian suppliers for the purchase of prescription drugs for state prisons, hospitals and agencies (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 6/17). In addition, legislation would allow Medi-Cal to reimport medications from Canada. Lawmakers estimate that the bills, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco), could save the state more than $30 million per year. However, the legislation would require the state to seek approval from HHS (California Healthline, 5/25).
SB 1149, sponsored by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), would establish a state Web site to direct residents to Canadian pharmacies from which they could purchase safe prescription drugs; the pharmacies would have to meet the same standards as those based in California (Contra Costa Times, 6/17).
- AB 1957, sponsored by state Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Los Angeles), would direct the Department of Health Services to develop a Web site by July 1, 2005, that would list prices in California and Canada for the 50 most commonly prescribed brand-name medications. The Web site also would include links to Canadian pharmacies that are licensed by a Canadian province, meet state pharmacy board standards and sell only medications approved by the Therapeutic Products Directorate of Health Canada. In addition, the bill would require the state to post a warning to consumers about foreign pharmacies that have sold counterfeit medications and engaged in other illegal sales practices (California Healthline, 5/27).