Senate Passes Prescription Drug Importation Bill
Today the Vermont Senate voted unanimously to pass a bill that could allow Vermont to purchase and reimport some of our most used and expensive prescription drugs directly from Canada. Currently one in 5 people cannot afford to fill the prescriptions prescribed by their doctor.
“This is a huge step in make prescriptions more affordable and reducing one large health care expense,” said Lt. Governor Zuckerman. “By reducing the cost of the most widely used prescription drugs we are directly reducing the financial burden on seniors and those on fixed incomes.”
The bill was reported by Senator Ayer, Chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. She shared some of the most compelling and relevant testimony heard in her committee including:
- Drug manufacturing is already global with 80% of the active ingredients used in manufacturing US drugs coming from abroad and 40% of prescription drugs sold in the US being produced in foreign countries.
- More than 30 Canadian drug manufacturers are FDA registered for production in the US.
“Senator Ayer shared a list comparing the cost of high volume drugs in the US vs Canada which was very helpful,” reported Lt. Governor Zuckerman. “Lipitor is a common prescription for seniors that costs $8.74 in the US and $0.19 in Canada. It is time we stand up for our most vulnerable, reduce price gouging of the pharmaceutical industry, and ensure Vermonters can afford to follow their doctor’s orders.”
Vermont’s federal Congressional delegation — Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch are also working on federal legislation to allow for importation of some prescription drugs as well as price caps on some prescriptions.
If this becomes law, Vermont will have to obtain a federal waiver to implement this law to import pharmaceuticals on behalf of its residents.