Due to unchecked increases in prescription drug costs, the governors and legislatures of many states now advocate importing prescription medications from Canada. Several states have even started Web sites for their citizens to order from approved Canadian pharmacies. These states include:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has been a leading advocate of legalizing prescription medications from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. He created the program Illinois Rx Cares in order to provide monetary relief to senior citizens who fell into the donut hole of prescription medication coverage, as well as others who struggle to afford their prescription medications. The Illinois Rx Cares program helps locate and aid its users in purchasing prescription medication from safe and affordable Canadian pharmacies.
Since Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) took office in 2003, she has drastically lowered the cost of healthcare for Kansans by joining the I-Save RX program, which has made it easier for citizens of her state to get low-cost medications from both Canada and Europe. She has also listed links to several state-inspected Canadian pharmaceutical resources on state Web sites.
Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) developed one of the nation’s leading prescription drug Web sites, RXConnect, which allows Minnesotans to access more affordable prescription medication found in both Canada and the United Kingdom. He also implemented a program that offers incentives to state employees who order their prescription medication online from Canadian pharmacies.
4. New Hampshire
New Hampshire has implemented a new policy to import prescription medications for prison inmates and state employees from Canadian pharmacies. Gov. John Lynch (D) has expressed his support of the program and plans to further extend the program to help more citizens in New Hampshire.
Gov. Brad Henry has proposed a $1.5 million dollar plan to allow state residents to purchase their prescription medication from Canada and other foreign countries. In addition to the new plan, the Oklahoma state government has met with several Canadian pharmacies to examine different ways that Oklahomans can save money by importing prescription drugs.
6. Rhode Island
Rhode Island, led by Gov. Donald Carcieri (R), has placed links to Canadian Web sites on its state Web site as well as developing a Web site called RIRx for state residents to purchase discount medications from Canadian and other foreign pharmacies. Rhode Island purchases Canadian drugs for state employees and retirees. Rhode Island also passed a law that allows the state department of health to license Canadian pharmacies. Secretary of state Matt Brown also announced a new plan called RIMEDS that lets residents find discount prescription medication online and by phone.
Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) has partnered with Wisconsin in creating a state-sponsored Web site, http://www.rx.wa.gov/, to order prescription drugs from Canada. The state house in Washington also passed legislation to allow certain certain state agencies to purchase prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies and wholesalers.
The governor of Vermont, Jim Douglas (R), traveled to Washington D.C. to testify before the Federal Drug Task Force on Drug Reimportation to persuade the federal government to allow states to pursue all safe means of lower the cost of prescription medication. Vermont’s department of personnel has a link to Minnesota’s website, RXConnect. Gov. Douglas has also worked with lawmakers to allow the purchase of American-made drugs sold in foreign countries. Vermont’s House of Representatives voted 129 to 8 to allow its state’s residents to purchase lower-cost prescription medications from Canada and Europe through the I-Save RX program.
Wisconsin created the Web site http://www.drugsavings.wi.gov/, which allows its citizens to purchase lower-cost prescription medications from both American and Canadian pharmacies. Gov. Jim Doyle (D) also links to the I-SaveRX program from the state’s official website. The Wisconsin state senate passed a resolution asking the federal government to initiate a system for importing foreign drugs.
Day after day, pressure is mounting on the federal government to legalize the importation of prescription medications from Canada and other foreign countries. U.S. state governments increasingly are taking direct action to do what’s right for their citizens.