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Senate Hearing Highlights Need to Advance Personal Importation 


Washington, DC - Today the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) released a statement calling on Congress to advance the Affordable and Safe Drug Importation Act to ensure American patients have access to critical daily medications. The CPPI statement follows the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing titled, “Why Does the United States Pay, by Far, the Highest Prices in the World for Prescription Drugs?”


“The Senate HELP Committee hearing highlights the dire need for affordable access to daily prescription medications that are simply beyond Americans’ means of accessing given pharmaceutical prices in the U.S.” says CPPI executive Director Jack Pfeiffer. “The time is now for Congress to advance the Affordable and Safe Drug Importation Act, long championed by Senator Bernie Sanders, to ensure no Americans can access the medications they need at affordable prices.”




Sanders’ remarks, as prepared for delivery can be read here and video of the full hearing can be viewed here.


Kaiser Family Foundation polling reveals that 82% of Americans say the cost of prescription drugs is too high, and 73% say that the government is not doing enough to regulate drug prices, and 78% support allowing Americans to buy drugs imported from Canada.


Senator Sanders has long been a champion of prescription drug importation and lowering the costs of prescription drugs for Americans. During the Senate Health Committee hearing, Sanders pressed the CEOs of Merck, Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb about why their medicines cost egregiously more in the U.S. compared to other countries.  


Senator Sanders focused on several widely used drugs, including blood thinner Eliquis from Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck’s cancer drug Keytruda, and Johnson & Johnson’s arthritis drug Stelara. He questioned executives from each of the pharmaceutical manufacturers whether they made a profit selling their medications for as little as 13% in Canada compared to the U.S. and they each answered yes. 


Senator Sanders: “Carolyn from Florida says she can not afford Eliquis, so she will ‘stop taking it even though I need it to prevent the risk of having a stroke.’ Mr. Boerner, the list price of Eliquis is $7,100 a year in the United States. Dr. Melissa Barber an expert at Yale University estimates that it costs just $18 dollars to manufacture a year's supply of Eliquis. Is it true that the exact same drug, Eliquis can be purchased for $900 a year in Canada?”


Mr. Boerner: “Senator, that is roughly correct.”


Senator Sanders: “Let me ask you this, even at 13% of the cost in the United States does Bristol Myers Squib make a profit selling Eliquis in Canada?”


Mr. Boerner: “Senator, we do make a profit.”


CPPI polling research attests that Americans who import prescription medications from licensed Canadian pharmacies save an average of $4,920 a year. The savings that Americans receive from prescription importation from Canada has more than doubled since 2019 when survey results showed an average annual savings of $2,352.


“Advancing personal prescription importation is the solution that Americans need to see from Congress to ensure immediate access to affordable prescription medications,” reiterated Pfeiffer. 



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