Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota on 0Wednesday introduced the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act of 2019, which would permit the importation of prescription drugs from approved pharmacies in Canada.
“For decades, safe and affordable prescription drugs have been for sale just across the border, but legally out of reach for American families. It’s long past time for Congress to help the millions of Americans who struggle to pay exorbitant prices for medication. Our bill would do exactly that. In the meantime, I’ll keep up the fight against high prescription drug prices through increased competition and expanded access to more affordable generics,” Grassley said.
“The skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs have made many lifesaving medications unaffordable for the people who need them, but our neighbors in Canada pay about half as much for their medications. Our legislation would allow for the safe importation of less expensive drugs from Canada, increasing competition, bringing down drug costs, and saving American families money. The bipartisan nature of the bill also continues with Senator Grassley taking up the mantle of the late Senator John McCain, who was the first to introduce this bill with me,” Klobuchar said.
Grassley and Klobuchar have repeatedly encouraged increased importation of prescription drugs from Canada and worked to address the ever-increasing costs of prescription drugs. In 2017, the senators, alongside former Sen. John McCain, urged HHS Secretary Tom Price to use statutory authority to fast-track the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. Grassley and McCain sent a similar letter to then-HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell in 2015.
Last congress, Grassley and Klobuchar also pressed the FDA on certain drug importation policies and introduced the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act to further reduce costs to patients.