In January, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a bill that would allow the importation of lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada to the US. The bill failed with a vote of 52-46, despite having some partisan support, with 13 Republican senators voting in favor. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was a notable Democratic opponent of the bill, stating safety concerns.
However, this week, Sanders announced he will once again try to help Americans deal with rising drug prices by introducing another bill that would allow the importation of pharmaceuticals from Canadian pharmacies if they pass certain safety standards. The new bill appears to have allayed whatever safety concerns Booker had, as he is a co-sponsor of Sanders’ latest effort.
The bill would allow the importation of drugs from pharmacies in Canada by pharmacies, wholesalers, and individual patients. It would allow no more than a 90-day supply to be ordered at a time, and purchases must be made from FDA-certified Canadian sellers.
Despite almost 170 different pharmaceutical and pharmacy organizations having noted opposition to the bill, with the bipartisan support Sanders’ previous bill received, the senator is hopeful that this time his bill will pass. And considering President Donald Trump himself has said that the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder,” perhaps there will be enough consensus to finally bring some relief to Americans struggling to pay for their medical care.