Getting bargain drugs is good state policy
The Legislature has overturned the governor's veto of a bill providing for inexpensive prescription drugs imported from Europe.
SAFE and inexpensive prescription drugs will be available to Hawaii residents under a new state law. Although not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drugs will come from approved pharmacies and wholesalers in Europe
under a program tested and found reliable in five other states.
The Legislature overrode a veto of the bill by Gov. Linda Lingle, who pointed out that federal law prohibits the importation of prescription drugs from other countries. However, Illinois initiated the import program four years ago, followed by Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri and Vermont, and the government has shied away from prosecuting individuals for buying small amounts of prescribed medicine for themselves or family members.
The establishment of I-SaveRx in Hawaii by July of next year should be helpful to residents who are not insured or have large out-of-pocket expenses. It also should be useful for seniors who fall into the "doughnut hole" gap in federal coverage. A resident can sign on to the program's Web site, fax or mail their prescriptions and receive a three-month supply of the drugs within 20 days.
Under the programs, prescription drugs will be made available through a network of inspected and approved pharmacies and wholesalers in Canada, Britain and Ireland. People are warned that drugs offered at even cheaper prices from developing counties may be counterfeit.
I-SaveRx received an important endorsement from Rep. Josh Green, a Big Island physician. "I feel completely confident that it's a safe law," Green said. "What's unsafe is people having high blood pressure and not being able to afford to treat it."
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