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AARP joins effort for prescription drug importation     Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 30, 2004]  CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich voiced his support Monday for AARP rallies being held on Michigan's three bridges to Canada. The rallies -- taking place in Detroit, Port Huron and Sault Ste. Marie -- called on federal lawmakers to recognize and provide safeguards for the importation of low cost prescription drugs.

"People are pulling together across the country to win access to affordable prescription drugs," the governor said. "We're doing what we can at the state level, but real, long-term change will require action at the federal level. The United States Senate has an opportunity to make a huge difference in millions of people's lives. We hope Senator Frist will not pass up this chance."

The rallies were sponsored by the American Association of Retired People and many AARP members attended. Almost 80 percent of AARP members are in favor of the importation of prescription drugs. A main focus of the rallies was for the passage of the Dorgan-Snowe bill, a Senate bill legalizing and providing safeguards for imported prescription medication. Michigan's two senators, Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, are both co-sponsors of the Dorgan-Snowe bill. Stabenow attended the Detroit rally.

 

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In a Sept. 10 letter, Gov. Blagojevich, along with Govs. Jim Doyle, D-Wis., and Craig Benson, R-N.H., called on Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to allow the bipartisan Dorgan-Snowe bill to reach the Senate floor. A similar bill passed the House several times.

In late August, Gov. Blagojevich announced that Illinois will establish a program enabling its residents to order their prescription drugs from state-inspected pharmacies and wholesalers in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Illinois' program will be limited to prescription refills that can be filled only after a network physician in Canada or the United Kingdom has approved and rewritten the American prescription. Narcotics and perishable drugs will not included in the program. The plan will be launched in the coming weeks.

[News release from the governor's office]

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