In an effort to ease prescription drug costs in the United States – especially for older Americans – four senators introduced legislation yesterday that will allow pharmacies and wholesalers to import medications from five foreign countries.
If passed, the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act will allow the purchase of FDA-approved drugs from Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Prescription prices in these countries are 35 percent to 55 percent lower than in the U.S.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill could save Americans $50 billion over the next decade. President Obama has already signaled support for the legislation, which was proposed by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, John McCain, R-Ariz., and Debbie Stabenow D-Mich.
“For far too long Americans have seen health care costs – especially prescription drug costs – increase year after year,” said Sen. John McCain in a statement. “Re-importation legislation would allow access to safe and effective prescription drugs at much lower prices than are available in the United States . If enacted, the legislation will provide the much needed relief to American families, especially seniors and others on fixed incomes, who are facing tough economic times.”