Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John McCain (R-AZ) today introduced the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow individuals to safely import prescription drugs from Canada, creating major savings for consumers and bringing greater competition into the pharmaceutical market. In 2013, average prescription drug prices were twice as expensive in the United States as they were in Canada, with high costs leading some Americans to skip doses or forgo filling prescriptions altogether:
“Canadian families right across our northern border pay on average half as much for their prescription drugs, but laws currently on the books prevent American families from buying these cheaper alternatives,” said Senator Klobuchar. “That doesn’t make sense, and that’s why I’ve joined with Senator McCain to introduce bipartisan legislation to allow Americans to safely import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada. To be clear, these are the same drugs with the same safety standards and the same dosages that are sold in the United States. Passing this legislation would increase competition, bring down drug costs, and save American families money.”
“The rising cost of prescription medication in recent years is unfairly burdening families in Arizona and across the country who often worry about whether or not they will be able to afford filling a prescription,” said Senator John McCain. “We must do more to stop the unsustainable increase in the price of prescription medication by introducing greater competition into the pharmaceutical marketplace. That’s why I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation, which would allow individuals to safely import prescription drugs into the United States from our neighbors to the north and save individual Americans up to hundreds of dollars a year.”
The Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act would allow individuals to safely import into the United States a personal supply of prescription drugs. Under the legislation, imported prescription drugs would have to be purchased from an approved Canadian pharmacy and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Drugs imported under this bill would be the same dosage, form, and potency as drugs in the U.S., but at a significant savings to U.S. consumers. In 2015, 16.7 percent of all health care spending in the U.S. went to prescription drugs, an increase from about 7 percent in the 1990s. A recent analysis found that there have been double-digit drug price increases in each of the past three years.
Klobuchar has championed efforts to address the high cost of prescription drugs, authoring multiple pieces of legislation that would protect American consumers. She introduced the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act that would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with drug companies for price discounts for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, eliminating the “non-interference” clause that expressly bans Medicare from negotiating for the best possible prices. The government can harness the bargaining power of nearly 41 million seniors to negotiate bigger discounts than insurance companies. She has also introduced the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to expand consumers’ access to the cost-saving generic drugs they need and increase competition between drug manufacturers by helping to end “pay for delay” deals—the practice of brand-name drug manufacturers using anti-competitive pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market. Klobuchar joined with Senators Grassley, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Mike Lee (R-UT) to introduce the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act to deter pharmaceutical companies from blocking cheaper generic alternatives from entering the marketplace.