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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 23, 2019 03:56 PM
From: Representative Stephen McCarter and Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski
To: All House members
Subject: Prescription Drug Importation Study and Program Design
Unnecessarily expensive prescription drugs are driving up the already high cost of healthcare for people across Pennsylvania. Even worse, those who can’t afford these life-saving drugs can be forced to ration and forego their medications. That’s why we will be introducing legislation directing the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to study the potential savings of importing less expensive prescription drugs from Canada and design a potential prescription drug importation program for our state when the study demonstrates savings for consumers and pending federal action.

Several states have already passed laws establishing programs that would import prescription drugs from Canada in hopes of passing along savings to consumers. Florida estimates their program would save consumers over $150 million annually. However, the federal law allowing state prescription drug importation programs has not been implemented, even though it was passed more than 15 years ago. In addition, these importation programs need to be approved by federal officials prior to taking effect.

Recent news articles have indicated that the federal government is in the process of developing regulations that would implement the law and provide guidelines for state importation programs, but as we know the federal regulatory process can take quite some time. By directing DOH to conduct a study on the merits of an importation program in our state & design a potential program once federal regulations are promulgated, we can ensure the legislature is in the best position possible should we wish to expediently implement a well-researched prescription drug importation program.

Please join us in supporting this legislation to help address some of the absurdly high drug prices in PA.

Introduced as HB2225