Skip to main content

Rx importation bill advances in Senate


WASHINGTON Overriding concerns from retail pharmacy groups, patient safety advocates and the pharmaceutical industry, the U.S. Senate late Thursday approved a plan to allow Americans to directly import lower-priced drugs from Canada via the Internet.

The plan, added as an amendment to a larger spending bill to fund the Customs Department and other agencies, according to a report from AP, now moves to House and Senate negotiators, who will attempt to hammer out a final version for passage in both houses of Congress.

The language allowing re-importation of drugs was crafted by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and approved 55-36, AP reported Friday.

Senate passage of Vitter’s amendment marks a rapid reversal of fortune for opponents of direct re-importation of drugs produced in the U.S. and shipped to Canada and other countries. Last week, another drug re-importation amendment – offered in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [HELP] Committee as part of broad health care reform proposals – failed to advance by a vote of 12 to 10.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds