Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2005
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Ellis, Hochberg Urge Swift Action on Rising Prescription Costs

Legislation would allow Texans to purchase less expensive prescription drugs from Canada

(Austin)// Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), Representative Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) and concerned Texans urged swift action on legislation that would allow Texans to purchase less expensive prescription drugs from Canada via the Internet.

The legislation, SB 518 and HB 713, would establish a program that allows the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to license Canadian pharmacies to sell and ship prescription drugs directly to Texans. Participating Canadian pharmacies would be required to meet the same safety standard as any other pharmacy operating in Texas.

"The rising cost of prescription drugs is a major fiscal crisis that could lead to a major health crisis in Texas," Ellis said. "Texans that can't keep up with skyrocketing prices are either going without much-needed medications or taking the more risky route buying who- knows-what from who-knows-where over the Internet. This legislation will help Texans better afford expensive prescription drugs while maintaining the safety standards we demand."

"More and more Texans are having trouble meeting the rising cost of prescription drugs and they are making sometimes risky decisions," Hochberg said. "We can't wait for the federal government and we can't hope things just work out for the best, we have to take action. This legislation will mean real savings and improved safety for Texans who need help."

Under the legislation, Texans could realize huge savings on many popular prescription drugs, including 32% on the osteoporosis medication Fosamax, 45% on the cholesterol medication Lipitor, and up to 75% on the menopausal syndrome medication Premarin.*

The legislation includes several key safety measures, including:

The legislation is modeled after successful programs in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Vermont also have programs to help residents obtain less expensive prescription drugs from Canada, and Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio are considering legislation.

"This legislation is not a cure-all, but it can mean significant savings to thousands of Texans in a safe and straightforward way," Ellis said. "I urge my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to take swift action on this important legislation."

* Price comparison based on Sept. 2004 MinnesotaRXconnect website v. a national retail pharmacy.

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