U.S. Senate Budget Committee Passes the Bipartisan Stabenow/Enzi Prescription Drug Reimportation Amendment
The U.S. Senate Budget Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a bipartisan amendment offered by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) that directs the Senate to pass prescription drug reimportation legislation for the purpose of saving American consumers and taxpayers money. Passage of the StabenowEnzi amendment marks the first major step in enacting such legislation into law.
"By lifting the current ban on the reimportation of prescription drugs, Michigan's seniors, businesses, and other consumers would no longer have to pay the highest prices in the world," said Stabenow, who has been one of the leading advocates in the U.S. Senate on this issue.
Stabenow has co-authored legislation that would allow U.S. pharmacies to reimport lower-priced prescription drugs from other countries, providing tremendous savings for American seniors, families and businesses. The Food and Drug Administration would set strict safety guidelines for reimportation, and FDA-registered pharmacies would be allowed to reimport prescription drugs from specific countries around the world. Until this system is permanently in place, individuals would be able to legally purchase prescription drugs from Canada.
Stabenow detailed just how much Michigan residents and other Americans could expect to save on commonly prescribed drugs, if reimportation were allowed. For example, Tamoxofin costs one-fifth, and Prevacid and Zocor cost half as much in Canada as they do in the United States. Anyone purchasing Lipitor from Canada could expect to save 40 percent, and Zyprexa, as much as 25 percent.
"In the end, this needs to be about the kind of relationship consumers want to have with their local pharmacist, whom they know and trust. There is no substantive reason why pharmacists should not be able to safely reimport prescription drugs, much like the pharmaceutical industry does everyday.
"I have long argued that the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is a major force in the rising cost of health care, hurting not only seniors and families, but hundreds of thousands of businesses as well. This legislation is part of the solution of addressing the high price of prescription drugs, and the long-term benefits cannot be underestimated. The time has come to finally pass this legislation and allow America's seniors and businesses to achieve the same kinds of savings that their counterparts in other countries have enjoyed for years," Stabenow concluded.