Senators, AARP Want Rx Imports

Mar 12, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Former Senate majority leader Trent Lott, (R-Miss.) says he doesn’t have a satisfactory answer for his mother when she wants to know why she has to pay more for the same prescription
medicine as consumers in Canada or Mexico.

Because of that, says the senator, “When the next vote comes, I’m switching my vote on the importation of drugs.”

Mr. Lott was not the only new supporter to get behind changing the law to allow for importation of prescription medicines. The head of the senior rights group AARP, William Novelli,
said, “We think the (pharmaceutical) industry has got to see the writing on the wall and begin to help” in finding a solution for the high price paid for prescription medicines
purchased in the U.S.

The Washington Post reports John Cornyn (R-Tex.) is now ready to support in the change in the law believing “drug imports can be regulated much as imported food is.”

The chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, John McCain (R-Ariz.), said, “We are not talking about an academic situation. We are talking about
seniors who are going to bed tonight making a decision whether to pay for a prescription drug or to eat. You almost have an obligation to these seniors to come up with a proposal
of your own so that we can make their prescription drugs more affordable.”

Moderator’s Comment: How should the U.S. drug retailing industry deal with this issue?

Freeing up imports would certainly be great for those exporting from other countries, but what of the retailers who sell prescriptions here in the U.S.
Anderson – Moderator

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