We were expecting the vote to happen last week but Senators voted Thursday morning to allow full debate on reimportation…this has slowed things down and Senators are preparing for another fight. This amendment, brought to the table by Senators Dorgan and Snowe would allow Americans to buy their medications from Canada and other developed countries, where prices are usually lower.
The Bush administration has already threatened a veto of S.1082 if reimportation language is included. And the drug industry has already made their position clear. Says the Baltimore Sun:
Pharmaceutical companies – whose user fees now pay about half the cost of reviewing new drugs – are determined to stop the import bill.
The industry has powerful leverage. Before the import measure was put forward, it had agreed to support higher user fees to cover most of the cost for improving the drug-safety system. That agreement may be in jeopardy.
We’ll give another update once we know more.