Oregon - Oppose SB 409 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Oregon - Oppose SB 409

State Action

April 1, 2019

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

Dear Senators,

A work session is scheduled for SB 409 on April 3, 2019.  This bill would direct the creation and implementation of a state program to import drugs from Canada.  This bill is unnecessary and wasteful and will not deliver lower costs for patients.  On behalf of the 32,515 members of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Oregon, I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 409.

Purchasing pharmaceuticals outside of our current closed system introduces enormous risk.  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.  It is not the role of a state government to run an importation program.  State officials are not equipped to assess whether imported drugs are “pure, unadulterated, potent, and safe” and to attempt to do so would require an enormous investment that would negate any anticipated savings.

Moreover, the importation of drugs establishes price controls that are a feature of countries with socialized medicine, like Canada.  Price controls inevitably result in less research and development, fewer jobs, and fewer cures.  They also result in drug shortages, hurting patients more than anyone else.  Furthermore, importation assumes that Canadian 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.

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.

America and Oregon need policies that encourage innovation and competition.  Imported price controls that stifle it, like SB 409, should be rejected.


Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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