NM Democrats push to allow importation of prescription drugs from Canada

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Democratic state lawmakers are looking to Canada to lower prescription drug costs. They want to be able to import wholesale drugs, but it requires a change in the law.

This was something on the governor’s agenda, however, it already faces federal roadblocks.

“I think for seniors this is particularly important, and for people on all kinds of drugs, very expensive drugs,” said Sen. Mary Kay Papen, (D) Las Cruces.

The governor and Democratic lawmakers say prescription drugs can bet too costly in New Mexico. Senate Bill 1 would allow a wholesale prescription drug importation program from Canada to New Mexico.

The bill would allow the state’s Department of Health to work with the feds to import those drugs here. Republican lawmakers are listening to the idea, but they have concerns.

“The big consequences I’m worried about now is the local pharmacist. So you’ve got mom and pop pharmacists in Farmington and Albuquerque or wherever…How is this going to affect them? They have no control over the national drug prices,” said Sen. William Sharer, (R) Farmington.

Republican lawmakers are also worried the plan could violate federal law. KRQE News 13 is told the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working on tweaking current drug importation rules, but if they are not finalized before this law goes into effect the state may have to rework the law.

As for that federal hurdle, Sen. Papen is hopeful those rule changes will be sorted out soon. Sen. Papen says she does not think insulin would be one of the high-priced prescription drugs that could be imported from Canada.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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