Issue Date: May 14, 2007
Drug Imports Blocked
The Senate has killed an effort to allow Americans to buy lower priced prescription drugs from abroad, clearing the way for passage of legislation that will reauthorize the FDA's ability to collect fees from the pharmaceutical industry to help defray the cost of reviewing New Drug Applications. The Senate voted 49 to 40 to approve an amendment that would require the Health & Human Services Department to certify that prescription drugs imported from Canada and other countries would pose no safety risk to U.S. consumers. HHS officials have repeatedly said they cannot make that guarantee. The measure, by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), undercut an amendment offered by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) that would have allowed imports from FDA-approved sources in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand without the certification requirement. Pharmaceutical companies argue that importation could compromise safety by allowing counterfeit medicines to enter the market and that opening the U.S. to imported drugs could lead to government price controls, such as those in Canada and Europe.
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