February 28, 2017
Statement by Ben Wakana, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs on Prescription Drug Importation Legislation
“Patients For Affordable Drugs has one key touchstone in evaluating policy proposals to lower drug prices: In our best judgment, will the proposal help patients access safe and effective drugs at lower costs?
“In the case of the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act introduced by Senators Sanders, Booker, Casey and others* and the Affordable Drugs from Canada Act introduced by Senators McCain and Klobuchar, we conclude the answer is yes. So we are lending our support to both pieces of legislation.
“Patients unable to afford U.S. drug prices are already turning to Canada for drugs they need. Given strong safety provisions, importation of drugs from Canada and from other developed countries can strengthen competition and help break the monopoly pricing power now wielded by drug corporations.
“Importation can help patients in the near term, but it is not a comprehensive solution to the problem of high drug prices writ large. We need a set of policy changes that includes Medicare negotiations, transparency from Pharmacy Benefit Managers, faster approval of generics, affordable access to drugs developed using taxpayer dollars, and prices based on the value of drugs to patients. Reforms such as these are needed to fundamentally change the rules and make drugs affordable for everyone who needs them.”
* Original co-sponsors also include Senators Martin Heinrich, Angus King, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Jack Reed, Al Franken, Tammy Baldwin, Maggie Hassan, Tom Udall, and Debbie Stabenow.