Update: From Senator Kerry’s online coordinator:
John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have both worked for drug re-importation for a long time. And I know that John Kerry has never taken PhRMA money, so he’s not in their pocket by any means. I was assured personally that both of them are totally committed to bringing up the Dorgan amendment to another bill. Where it will pass. This *will* pass the Senate.
In this case, however, the underlying bill wouldn’t have passed without the “safety” provision (which we all know kills the re-importation for now). And there’s a lot in the underlying bill that’s important to get through, and a lot that PhRMA doesn’t like about it. It reinstates the fees they pay when they apply for patents. It forces them to be more transparent in their safety and testing regimes. And it creates a situation where pediatric medicines get a higher priority than they do now.
This bill also closes some of the gaps in our food safety testing that has allowed outbreaks of disease in our food recently.
This is not about killing re-importation or being in the pocket of PhRMA (neither of our Senators fits that description). This is about choosing the best avenues to get results. The drug re-importation will pass the Senate. And our Senators will be part of why.
Well, if that’s true, I cheerfully withdraw my objections. My original, and apparently premature, post is below.
Senators Kerry and Kennedy voted to scotch Sen. Dorgan’s bill for drug re-importation from other countries:
WASHINGTON- In a triumph for the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate yesterday killed a drive to allow consumers to buy prescription drugs from abroad at a significant savings over domestic prices.
On a 49-40 vote, the Senate required the administration to certify the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs before they can be imported, a requirement that officials have said they cannot meet.
“Well, once again the big drug companies have proved that they are the most powerful and best financed lobby in Washington,” said Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican.
Democratic Massachusetts Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry both voted for the safety certification that nullified the chance for lower-cost drugs.
The vote neutralized a second amendment, later passed on a voice vote, that would legalize the importation of prescription drugs made in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan and New Zealand.
Wow. Don’t ever think your representatives actually represent you. They’re looking out for someone else. Godzilla vs. Mothra politics continues, a great battle of special interests, before which the masses flee.
Of course, the real question is Why the hell do we have to re-import drugs from other countries at all? Why do Americans get the privilege of paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?
This is PhRMA’s world; we just live in it. Pay up.