Prescription drugs: reimportation spells relief.

Author:Douglas, Jim
Position:SOUNDING OFF
 
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The cost of prescription medicines is one key component of our current health care crisis. In some cases, costs are so high that seniors are forced to choose between life-saving drugs and other necessities.

The cruel irony is that many of these same drugs, manufactured in America, can be purchased at fractions of their U.S. prices in other countries. And it's getting worse. If immediate action is not taken, Americans may soon demand economically damaging artificial price controls. The market must be made to work.

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Consequently, I continue to urge Congress to enact commonsense policies to lower the cost of prescription drugs. For example, legislation authorizing the reimportation of lower priced medicine from safe and reputable sources in other industrialized nations would offer short-term relief to increasing costs and encourage further reforms here in America.

Vermont, for its part, will not sit back and watch as the cost of prescription drugs continues to rise. Nor are we content to simply ignore the law that elected officials are sworn to uphold.

More than a year ago, Vermont sought a waiver from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizing a pilot reimportation plan. The goal of the project is to demonstrate how a plan could be safely implemented and serve as a model for other states. The FDA has refused to approve the program.

Consequently, Vermont filed suit against the FDA in U.S. District Court, becoming the first state in the nation to challenge them for blocking a responsible proposal.

We argue in our filing that their position is "arbitrary and capricious, and otherwise unreasonable." Moreover, it is in direct violation of the Medicare Prescription Drug...

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