Two US senators have secured a hearing for their bipartisan legislation that would sanction the reimportation of lower priced drugs into the USA [[22/04/04b]],

In a joint statement, North Dakota senator, Byron Dorgan and Maine senator, Olympia Snowe, said: “In the coming days we will re-introduce our bipartisan legislation to allow the importation of Food and Drug Administration approved prescription drugs.” They added: “We are determined to pass drug importation legislation in the Senate this year in order to put downward pressure on prescription drug prices. We believe that our bipartisan legislation systematically and thoroughly addresses all the safety issues that have been raised. It is unfair for the pharmaceutical industry to charge American consumers the highest prices in the world for prescription medicines.”

The bill, which was unveiled last April and included proposals that would enable individuals to import up to a 90-day supply of a prescription FDA-approved drug from Canada for their own personal use, will be heard within 90 days.

- Meanwhile, Michael Leavitt was yesterday sworn in as the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, following his nomination to the position late last year [[14/12/04a]]. The former governor of Utah and administrator at the US Environmental Protection Agency takes over from Tommy Thompson who resigned from his post in December [[06/12/04c]].