Oregon - Oppose HB 2680 and HB 2689 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Oregon - Oppose HB 2680 and HB 2689

April 2, 2019

House Committee on Health Care
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court St NE
Salem, OR 97301

Dear Health Care Committee Members,

On April 4, 2019, you are scheduled to debate HB 2680 and HB 2689.  These bills would authorize the administrator of the Oregon Prescription Drug Program to cooperate with Canadian provinces and territories in the bulk purchase of prescription drugs and would require the creation and implementation of a state program, with the approval of the federal government, to import drugs from Canada.  These bills are unnecessary and wasteful, and will not deliver lower costs for patients

Purchasing pharmaceuticals outside of the current closed U.S. system introduces enormous risk to the drug supply chain.  No secretary of Health and Human Services or commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), of either political party, has ever certified that importing pharmaceuticals would keep Americans safe from counterfeit drugs, including dangerous opioids.  State officials are not equipped to assess whether imported drugs are pure and unadulterated without an enormous investment, which would negate any anticipated savings.

These bills assume that Canadian officials and pharmacies will sell their drugs without a considerable mark-up to cover their handling costs or that pharmaceutical companies will sell more drugs than needed for the population of a Canadian province.  Moreover, the importation of drugs from countries, such as Canada with its socialized medicine, is simply importing their price controls.  It is well-known that price controls create market disruption and result in less innovation and fewer cures.  It should be no surprise that Canada’s share of the world’s total pharmaceutical R&D is minuscule compared to the United States. 

It would be better for Oregon state officials to ask their U.S. congressional delegation to create an environment that fosters competition and innovation and to continue to hold the FDA’s feet to the fire to make sure the backlog of generic drug applications awaiting approval is cleared.  This would be a far more effective way to help bring down the price of prescription drugs than passing this harmful and counterproductive bill.

The U.S. and Oregon need policies that speed innovation and competition.  Importing price controls that stifle it, like HB 2680 and HB 2689, should be rejected.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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