A Senate press release:
Webb Vows More Affordable Prescription Drugs for American Consumers"I will continue the fight ..." What a guy.
All Americans deserve access to quality, affordable health care and medications - period. This is a question of basic fairness. With 47 million uninsured Americans, it is high time that healthcare legislation focuses on consumers and not corporate profits.
My Senate colleagues and I attempted to re-focus our nation’s priorities this week by passing a measure that would permit the safe importation of lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, the E.U., Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. But, Senator Cochran’s amendment effectively gutted this important cost-saving provision. Unfortunately, hard-working Americans will continue to pay the price.
Americans currently pay, on average, twice as much as most other countries in the world -- at a time when the U.S. pharmaceutical companies are turning profits in the tens of billions. The United States can and must do better. I will continue the fight in Congress for more affordable prescription drugs for the hard-working people of this country.
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Senator Webb and his pals are going to be bringing us cheap drugs out of Canada.
There is an overwhelming need for drug importation, yes? Americans, by the millions, are clamoring for those lower-cost prescription medications out of Canada, right?
(yawn ...) Well, not really.
From Friday's Wall Steet Journal:
Canadian Drugs, Eh? Washington fights over an unwanted program.So Jim Webb has donned his armor and has saddled his steed. A fist closes around, and firmly grips, his gleaming sword. A look of determination; a furrowed brow; a setting of the jaw; a steeled nerve. The epic battle is at hand.
By Kimberley A. Strassel
Listen to Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe discuss importing drugs from Canada, and you'll hear endless happy talk about "more competitive prices," "substantial savings" and how "crucial" reimportation is to "the American consumer." What you won't hear Ms. Snowe mention much is the drug-import program of Portland, Maine.
Interesting that, since Portland was one of those cities that gained notoriety a few years back for defying federal law and setting up a Canada import program that it promised would save its thousands of city employees and their dependents a bundle on drugs. Three years in, it has attracted all of 350 participants.
That was also the flame-out fate of a statewide plan by Gov. John Baldacci to empower the Penobscot Indian Nation to build a distribution center to import price-controlled Canadian drugs for some 325,000 uninsured and underinsured Mainers. The tribe in February unceremoniously closed the program (which never got its hands on Canadian drugs, but morphed into a domestic mail-order business), having attracted just 3,000 Medicaid recipients.
Ditto, all across America.
All of which helps explain this week's bizarre, and highly cynical, Senate votes on drug imports. Many of the very senators who supported or co-sponsored Ms. Snowe's amendment to change federal law and allow Canadian imports hail from states that have seen their own high-profile programs wither or die.
These folks know firsthand that Canadian imports aren't really that popular and won't save much, if any, money. But they do like what this debate offers, namely the chance to bash U.S. pharma companies and to stand with "overcharged" U.S. consumers. The votes are more a sideshow ... (link)
The windmill beckons!
Cheap Canadian drugs will be ours! Facts be damned! Reality, get thee hence! Cynics, stand aside! The Creator of all life calls! I embark upon this quest to save The World!
... and America looks on in total bemusement ....
One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this. - Don Quixote.