Bill to allow U.S. residents to bring prescription drugs across the Canadian border

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Mary Agnes Carey, associate editor of CQ HealthBeat, discusses an appropriations bill that would allow U.S. residents to bring prescription drugs across the Canadian border, legislation to reauthorize NIH and the pending approval of Andrew von Eschenbach to head FDA in this week's "Health on the Hill from and CQ."

According to Carey, House floor action could come this week on a fiscal year 2007 Homeland Security appropriations bill that would allow U.S. citizens to bring a 90-day supply of prescription drugs for personal use back from Canada.

Carey says the legislation "gives a boost to proponents of the practice" who hope the 110th Congress will pass a broader bill permitting reimportation from other countries.

The measure likely will be one of two FY 2007 spending bills to clear Congress before the pre-election recess, Carey says.

Carey also discusses the House Energy and Commerce Committee's approval of a measure that would reauthorize NIH.

The measure would authorize a 5% funding increase for NIH and create a "common fund" to pay for research involving more than one center.

The committee also reauthorized the Ryan White CARE act. The version of the measure that passed would distribute more money to areas based on the increasing numbers of HIV patients, rather than counts of AIDS cases in a state.

In addition, the committee approved legislation that would create a new agency within HHS to coordinate all federal efforts to discover and produce cures for diseases such as pandemic flu and countermeasures against biological weapons.

Finally, Carey discusses obstacles in the approval of Andrew von Eschenbach to head FDA.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee by voice vote approved von Eschenbach's nomination, but Senate confirmation likely will be blocked by Republican senators.

According to Carey, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is blocking von Eschenbach's nomination until FDA allows U.S. residents to purchase more prescription drugs from Canada than is permitted by the Homeland Security appropriations bill.

In addition, Carey says Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has said he will block von Eschenbach's nomination until FDA takes steps to discourage the use and to suspend sales of the abortion pill mifepristone (Carey, "Health on the Hill from and CQ," 9/25).

The complete audio version of "Health on the Hill," transcript and resources for further research are available online.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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