Legislature Enacts Hochberg/Ellis Plan to Combat Rising Prescription Costs
Amendment to SB 410 will allow Texans to purchase less expensive prescription drugs from Canada
(Austin)//The Texas Legislature approved a plan by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Representative Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) that will allow Texans to purchase less expensive prescription drugs from Canada via the Internet.
The plan, similar to SB 518 and HB 173, was amended to SB 410, Pharmacy Sunset legislation. The plan will establish a program that allows the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to inspect Canadian pharmacies which can later sell and ship prescription drugs directly to Texans once they pass inspection. Participating Canadian pharmacies would be required to meet the same safety standard as any other pharmacy operating in Texas. Texans consumers would only be allowed to utilize a participating Canadian pharmacy for refill prescriptions.
"This is a great moment for Texas consumers, particularly seniors," said Ellis. "The rising cost of prescription drugs is a major fiscal crisis that could lead to a major health crisis in Texas. 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. Under this plan, Texans will save money on those expensive prescription drugs without sacrificing safety standards we demand."
"This legislation protects Texans from internet scams and saves Texans money on needed prescription drugs, said Hochberg. "Texans should have safe and reliable options for their prescription drug needs. This legislation will mean real savings and improved safety for Texans who need help."
The Hochberg/Ellis plan includes several key safety measures, including:
- Canadian pharmacies must past inspection by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy;
- Medications must be prescribed for long-term use;
- Medications must be approved by Health Canada for sale in Canada;
- Medications must be manufactured in the U.S., or have an equivalent approved for sale in the U.S. by the FDA;
- Medications must require no special handling such as refrigeration;
- Texans cannot purchase more than a three-month supply of any one drug at one time
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. The FDA has not found any of these other state's websites to violate nay law.
"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 Governor Perry to take swift action on this important legislation."