Prescription drug bill needs work

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Congressman Gil Gutknecht is correct in being cautious to make sure a proposed prescription drug bill benefits voters -- and doesn't further line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies.

Gutknecht, R-Minn., is one of a handful of Republicans who are concerned about a GOP-written prescription drug bill, saying there's a number of issues left that need to be addressed.

Specifically, Gutknecht is looking for ways to help get the low-cost generic drugs more available to consumers.

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"What we're here today is to say there is still time to do it right," Gutknecht said Tuesday. "There's no hurry. There are a number of issues ignored."

Although lawmakers shouldn't drag their feet on this issue, we agree with Gutknecht that more possibilities need to be explored.

There's no argument that costs in the medical industry -- including health insurance and prescription drugs -- are out of control. That's especially the case in America, as lawmakers have argued in the past that prescriptions can cost three to four times less in Europe and Canada because of price controls there.

That's something legislators need to take a hard look at. The majority of those using prescription drugs are the elderly, and many of those folks are on fixed incomes.

Our elected officials need to keep working for those who got them there -- and not the powerful lobbyists with the pharmaceutical industry.