McCarter, Pashinski introduce Prescription Drug Importation bill for Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – State Reps. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, and Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, introduced legislation Wednesday that would make sure Pennsylvania has studied and is prepared to implement a prescription drug importation program if and when the federal government approves final regulations allowing states to do so.

"The increasing cost of prescription drugs is driving up health care costs, which is driving up every Pennsylvanian's cost of living," Pashinski said. "This legislation makes sure Pennsylvania is developing a long-term solution to this problem by preparing the state to effectively implement a prescription drug importation program once federal regulations are issued - potentially saving the state and consumers millions of dollars."

House Bill 2225 would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Health 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. Last month the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued draft rules that would allow states to start these programs, which still must go through a public comment period and may be years away from a final rule.

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 its program would save consumers over $150 million annually. However, the federal law allowing state prescription drug importation programs has not been implemented due to the absence of final regulations, even though it was passed more than 15 years ago.

I thank Representative McCarter for his partnership on this proposal to lower prescription drug costs, as well as the many other members of the General Assembly who are working diligently to find meaningful solutions to this devastating and deadly health care crisis,” Pashinski said.

The bill has 15 co-sponsors and awaits referral to committee.