Douglas may take legal action on drug re-importation

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he’s looking at the possibility of taking legal action against the Bush administration to allow states to re-import prescription drugs from Canada. This is the strongest position that the governor has taken on the issue of allowing consumers to purchase their drugs in Canada where prices are often 50% cheaper.

In recent weeks, Douglas has announced his support for a drug re-importation bill in Congress. The legislation is strongly opposed by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

Douglas has been reluctant to challenge the FDA but he says he’s now reviewing all of his options – including a plan in Minnesota where a Republican governor is aggressively promoting an effort to re-import drugs from Canada.

(Douglas) “We’re having conversations with the Attorney General’s office about the re-importation question. As well, we’re in consultation with other states that are looking at it more aggressively. I may have something to say about it in the near future.”

(Host) Douglas says he wants to be certain that re-importing drugs from Canada doesn’t pose any safety issues for Vermonters.

While the governor says he doesn’t want to “bash” the national pharmaceutical companies, he also says it’s important to limit their profit margins.

(Douglas) “We don’t want the American consumers to bear the brunt of the cost of these drugs. I don’t think it’s fair that we’re subsidizing the rates that are being paid by consumers elsewhere. As I’ve said in the past, I believe in profit – I just don’t believe in profiteering. So I think we need to continue to be aggressive, to squeeze down the cost of drugs for Vermonters – whether they’re being paid for out of public funds or private funds.”

(Host) Administration Secretary Michael Smith will travel to Boston next week to meet with representatives from other states that are interested in pursuing similar policies.

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