Position Statement by Bryan Tackett, Executive Director of Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI), on Prescription Importation Bills and Candidate Proposals

Oct 05, 2015, 11:54 ET from Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Campaign for Personal Prescription Drug Importation (CPPI) is pleased that so many current Members of Congress and Presidential candidates are vocally supporting efforts to provide prescription drug importation from Canada. In response to these various proposals, CPPI is making clear its stance on the merits of each.

CPPI's Executive Director, Bryan Tackett, notes that "Americans can ill-afford to continue paying exorbitant prices for basic health maintenance medications. Allowing seniors and others on fixed incomes – those who are most impacted by skyrocketing prices – to import medications from Canada means fewer incidences of non-adherence to drug regimens, resulting in better health and less hospital re-admissions and ER visits."

"These proposals from a bipartisan set of Congressional leaders and even candidates for President would allow Americans to import their health maintenance medications from licensed, legitimate sources in Canada. The common sense ideas outlined below could result in significant savings to Americans – those taking their meds as prescribed and taxpayers. It also means Americans won't be subsidizing Big Pharma's profits through out-of-control price setting."

Legislative Proposals on the Table
Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, S. 122/H.R. 2228
Earlier this year, Senators John McCain and Amy Klobuchar reintroduced their 2014 bill addressing access to safe, affordable medications from licensed, legitimate pharmacies in Canada. The legislation creates a "white list" of pharmacies from whom Americans can obtain their health maintenance drugs. For example, since 2002 pharmacies certified by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association have maintained a perfect safety record while serving over 10 million Americans who desperately need basic medications for ailments ranging from asthma and COPD to blood pressure maintenance. This legislation is supported by a number of U.S. Senators and members of the U.S House.

Prescription Drug Affordability Act, S. 2023/H.R. 3513
Longtime supporter of prescription drug importation from Canada, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Maryland Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings, introduced companion bills in mid-September allowing importation from Canada. The legislation requires the Secretary of Health & Human Services to finalize and implement regulations included in the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) by January 1, 2016. These regulations would allow importing medications from Canada. Further, S. 2023/H.R. 3513 would delay implementation of the harmful language outlined by Section 708 of FDASIA, which allows FDA and U.S. Customs & Border Protection to destroy imported medications from legitimate sources. Notably, in 1999 Sen. Sanders was among the first members of Congress to board buses with constituents who would drive across the U.S.-Canada border to fill their prescriptions. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates savings from passing the importation element of these bills at $1 billion annually.

Proposals from Presidential Candidates
Clinton Plan to Reduce Prescription Drug Prices
On September 22, Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton introduced a plan to reduce prescription drug prices. In addition to initiatives to cap an individual's annual spending on medications, Ms. Clinton also favors allowing imports from those countries "whose safety standards are a strong as those in the U.S." This, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, would save the government around $1 billion annually over ten years. As the FDA – including its former head Dr. Margaret Hamburg – has often noted, "nearly 40 percent of the drugs Americans take are made elsewhere, and about 80 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in drugs manufactured in the U.S. come from outside our borders." Already, many of the medications we take are made in countries that have the same safety standards that our FDA imposes. Profits can no longer trump the health of Americans when it comes to affordability of basic health maintenance medications.

Huckabee Statement on Importation from Canada
In a recent op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel, former Arkansas Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee proposed allowing individuals to import medications from Canada. Huckabee believes "Americans should have the freedom to purchase safe drugs from Canada. In fact, doing so would save taxpayers $19 billion over 10 years." He goes on further to say that this "just makes sense."

"We hope that these proposals will continue to drive the conversation about the importance of affordable medications for millions of Americans who currently skip their medications, cut pills, or otherwise do not fill their prescriptions. We are pleased that so many elected leaders and presidential candidates are recognizing this serious health crisis. We look forward to working with them and others to bring this issue to the forefront so that all elected officials can definitively take action," Tackett concluded.

Citizens and organizations concerned about the high cost of prescription pharmaceuticals in the U.S. and wanting access to affordable medications from Canada can get involved with CPPI by visiting the advocacy group's new website at www.personalimportation.org.

About the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation
The Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) is a national nonprofit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting access to safe, affordable imported prescription medications from Canada for 90-day personal use.  CPPI supporters and members represent low- and fixed-income Americans who urgently need an alternative to the exorbitantly high cost of prescriptions in the U.S., which causes millions of Americans to skip doses, split pills in half, take daily medications on an irregular basis, or avoid filling prescriptions entirely, jeopardizing their health.  More information about CPPI can be found online at www.personalimportation.org.

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