CMTA joins businesses and patient groups in opposing drug importation bills

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 19, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On August 18, 2004, CMTA President Jack Stewart joined with Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (R – Lancaster), businesses and patient groups in urging the Legislature to reconsider a series of policy proposals that would allow the illegal importation of prescription drugs at the expense of patient safety, investment in drug research and California’s economic growth.

AB 1957 (Frommer), SB 1149 (Ortiz), SB 1144 (Burton) and SB 1333 (Perata) all made it out of their appropriations committees on August 17th.

Lothar Dueck, president of the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy (a grassroots organization of community pharmacists) argued that "[the] bills under consideration in the Senate and Assembly would hurt Canadian patients, the Canadian health care system and put California patients at risk.

Currently, Canadian internet pharmacies are not held to the same regulatory oversight as in the United States, which explains the cause for concern and the potential harm to California patients.

In addition, California biotech companies are poised to be adversely affected by any of the proposed bills. Stephen Chang, CEO of a Californian biotech company, Astral Therapeutics explained. "If artificially low price controls are imported into California, an adequate return for investors will erode along with their desire to continue investing. California’s economic recovery depends heavily on the continued work of the biotech sector and it’s imperative that investment dollars continue to follow here."

Jack Stewart concluded by reaffirming the unintended consequences of this legislation. "There are a lot of unintended consequences with this legislation and so we need to stop and think about we’re doing and consider the impact this will have on Canadians, California and California’s worker’s."

Listen to clip of Jack Stewart's comments
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