Other’s opinion: Health Care: Allow prescription imports from Canada

Published 6:30 am Saturday, February 27, 2021

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The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.

Longtime Republican member of Congress Gil Gutknecht was considered a rebel in his party when he proposed making it legal to import prescription drugs from Canada. That was in the 1990s.

Today, the market-based approach to lowering prescription drug prices remains illegal. But maybe not for long.

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A bipartisan plan by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, calls for opening up markets so individuals could buy prescription drugs from Canada.

We supported the idea when Gutknecht represented Minnesota’s 1st District and we remain unwavering in this long overdue change in policy.

The bill has an impressive list of co-sponsors including Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Angus King, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats. The plans was introduced in the House by Republican Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington and Democrat Chellie Pingree of Maine.

In fact, Gutknecht and former Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel were longtime sponsors of a similar plan way back in 2003. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations opposed the plan for a variety of reasons, but all which led to benefitting pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the American taxpayer.

There’s no good reason consumers in the United States should pay more for prescriptions drugs than anywhere else in the world. The Klobuchar-Grassley plan will also keep health-care costs low so everyone can afford coverage.

Now, the time seems right with the presidency of Joe Biden to finally get this commonsense legislation passed. What’s needed now is a groundswell of public support that is unwavering.

We urge the public to contact their members of Congress and push them to support this prescription drugs competition bill.