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Capitol Health Call
May 12, 2004

Reimportation Rising

JAMA. 2004;291(18):2183. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2183-a

Congressional support for legalizing prescription drug importation from other countries is building. A bill introduced by Sen Charles Grassley (R, Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, would legalize imports from Canada, where cost controls rein in prices. Another plan under consideration would include European Union countries and Australia.

Research from Boston University School of Public Health bolsters the bills' prospects. The analysis, led by Alan Sanger, PhD, concluded that US drugmakers would not lose money on reimportation if at least 45% of the prescriptions filled from Canada were new. "When you lower prices, people buy more drugs," said Sanger, who added that an unknown number of prescriptions never get filled because of cost.

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