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follow HEY YOU 2017 Jan 12, 3:58pm
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"Large majorities of Americans think that prescription drug prices are too high, and support measures to lower them. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from last September found that 71 percent supported importation of medicines from Canada."
Bookerâ€™s office said he supports the importation of prescription drugs but that â€œany plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards.
This argument is the same one offered by the pharmaceutical industry. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which lobbies against importation, maintains that it opposes importation because â€œforeign governments will not ensure that prescription drugs entering the U.S. from abroad are safe and effective.â€
The safety excuse has long been a refuge for policymakers who donâ€™t want to assist Americans struggling with prescription costs. Bills to legalize importation passed in 2000 and 2007, but expired after the Clinton and Bush administrations refused to certify that it would be safe. The Obama administration also cited safety concerns when opposing an importation measure in the ACA.
A second amendment Wednesday, authored by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, would have allowed importation pending a safety certification, just like the previous laws passed on the subject. It also failed. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., used that amendment to claim on Twitter that he voted â€œto lower drug prices through importation from Canada,â€ and Booker referred to the Wyden amendment in his statement as well. This is a well-worn tactic from opponents of importation to mislead their constituents, as they know such certification will never occur.
Democrats blocked importation from becoming part of the Affordable Care Act in 2009, with over 30 votes in opposition, because they feared it would have pushed the pharmaceutical industry to oppose the underlying legislation. They also voted in large numbers to oppose importation as part of an FDA bill in 2012.
The 29% of voters who don't support importation are voting against their best interests.