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Facilitate the purchase by CA consumers of prescription drugs from Canada.

September 8, 2004
The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Request for Signature on AB 1957 (Frommer)
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, respectfully requests your signature AB 1957. The bill requires the Department of Health Services to develop a website to facilitate the purchase by California consumers of prescription drugs from Canada. The bill would also require Department of General Services (DGS) to determine if state departments and agencies buying prescription drugs could do so at less expense if they purchased from Canadian sources.
Drug prices in the United States are the highest in the world. From 1997-2002, prescription prices in the U.S. have increased an average of 17% per year, far greater than the rise in inflation. The 17% annual increase from 1997-2002 is not sustainable. Prescription drug price increases are one of the leading culprits in rising overall healthcare costs—including the increase in premiums for health insurance and health plans.
On average, Canadian sources are usually 50% less expensive for prescription drugs than U.S. sources. Drugs from Canada are just as safe as those from the U.S. Many Californians are already purchasing drugs from Canada. We know of no examples of Americans being harmed by drugs reimported from Canada. Therefore, we support this bill’s provisions to allow the state to explore purchasing from Canada when appropriate, and to give consumers more information for their own needs. Several other states, such as Illinois and Minnesota, have already acted to facilitate Canadian purchasing by their residents.
Earl Lui
Senior Attorney
cc: Assembly Member Dario Frommer