California Bulk Purchasing is the Solution
Santa Monica, CA -- The Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said that Governor Schwarzenegger's appeal to President Bush to lift a ban against prescription drug importation from Canada is an election-year ploy to divert attention from solutions that California can implement now to lower drug costs. FTCR said Schwarzenegger is well aware that Canada is in the process of adopting rules that would require Americans to visit a Canadian doctor before receiving a prescription. This requirement will put an end to Internet drug orders on which many California seniors now rely.
"If Governor Schwarzenegger really wanted to stand up to the drug companies that donated $847,200 to his election campaigns, he would champion a California-wide program to demand bulk discounts on behalf of all patients. The Governor knows that President Bush, the only elected official to receive more drug company contributions in the last two years, will never allow Americans to import cheaper prescription drugs. Even if Bush did allow imports, both the President and the Governor know that Canada is now the process of adopting rules that would require Americans to visit a Canadian doctor before receiving a prescription. This requirement will put an end to Internet drug orders on which many seniors rely," said Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "Instead, Schwarzenegger should show the people of California that he is on their side by allowing any patient to get the same prescription drug discounts that government workers and state legislators already receive."
FTCR said Schwarzenegger should support a program by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to develop the nation's first city-based prescription bulk purchasing program. That program, "L.A. Rx," will be available to any individual regardless of age, income, or insurance level and could be expanded statewide. With 35 million people, a California-wide purchasing pool could leverage the state's buying power to achieve deeper discounts than those that Canada receives. CALPERS -- the California Public Employees Retirement System -- already negotiates drug discounts directly with drug companies on behalf of 300,000 state workers and legislators.
Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh recently announced that he will pursue legislation to ban export of prescription drugs to the U.S. by requiring Canadian doctors to examine patients before writing prescriptions. Under current practice, Canadians physicians co-sign Internet orders after reviewing a prescription that had already been written by an American doctor.
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California's leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization.