Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) today reintroduced HR 478, the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, to the U.S. House, her legislation to allow consumers to import medications from Canada, where they are less expensive. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) joined as the lead Republican. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has introduced Senate companion legislation with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
“I’ve heard from so many individuals and families who don’t know what to do about shocking increases in their medication costs—whether it’s theprescription they need to manage their high cholesterol or asthma, or the EpiPen that could save their life during an allergic reaction,” Congresswoman Pingree said. “Just across the border in Canada, most medications are available at a fraction of the cost, because their government negotiates on price. Right now, we are denying our citizens access to those safe, lower price alternatives just to keep pharmaceutical companies happy. This bill would put an end to that and offer some much-needed relief to consumers.”
“The high cost of prescription drugs is leading some folks in Southwest Washington and across the country to skip doses, cut pills in half, or forego filling prescription drugs altogether. That’s alarming, and Congress needs to work on solutions to ease the financial burden of expensive drugs to make sure that residents aren’t forced to take these kinds of actions,” Representative Herrera Beutler said. “Today, I’m proud to join with Congresswoman Pingree in introducing bipartisan legislation to allow the safe, responsible importation of certain prescription drugs from our neighbor to the north. If a person can save hundreds or thousands of dollars and get identical prescriptions from licensed Canadian pharmacies, Congress should move forward with a solution allow that to happen.”
“For decades, safe and affordable prescription drugs have been for sale just across the border, but legally out of reach for American families. It’s long past time for Congress to help the millions of Americans who struggle to pay exorbitant prices for medication,” said Senator Grassley. “Our bill would do exactly that. In the meantime, I’ll keep up the fight against high prescription drug prices through increased competition and expanded access to more affordable generics.”
Although Canadian drugs are available, on average, at a third of 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.