Bipartisan legislation would allow safe purchases of prescription drugs from Canada
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has introduced the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, which would allow Americans to import prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies. Under the legislation, imported prescription drugs would have to be purchased from an approved Canadian pharmacy and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Drugs imported under this bill would be the same dosage, form, and potency as drugs in the U.S., but at a significant savings to U.S. consumers.
"I think it's crazy that people in Maine can't buy lower cost prescription drugs from just across the border in Canada. The fact is Americans have been doing it safely for years and I think it's time the federal government got out of the way and let consumers take advantage of a lower price alternative," Pingree said.
Pingree's bill, H.R. 2228 has bipartisan support and is identical to legislation introduced by Senators John McCain and Amy Klobuchar.
The U.S. spent a total of more than $271 billion on prescription drugs in 2013 alone, and we spend an average of almost $1,000 per person per year on pharmaceuticals–roughly 40 percent more than the next highest country.
"These high prices have a direct impact on people's health," Pingree said. "A recent survey found that nearly a quarter of American adults skipped doses or did not fill a prescription because of the cost."
Although Canadian drugs are available, on average, at half the price of their American equivalent, U.S. consumers are currently prevented from purchasing them because of a prohibition on the importation of prescription drugs.
Pingree has a long history of fighting for more competition and lower cost prescription drugs. When she served in the Maine Legislature she led bus trips to Canada where seniors bought lower cost prescriptions at Canadian pharmacies.