The US Senate has voted to allow drugs to be imported for personal use by US citizens who have prescriptions for their use, provided they are approved for marketing by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The proposal, approved earlier this week, makes it possible for US consumers to import lower-priced medicines from Canada, despite a Food and Drug Administration ban on imports.

It was appended to a $31.7 billion Homeland Security spending bill but still has to pass the joint Senate-House Committee before it can make it onto the statute books. Meanwhile, the Senate also voted to increase funding for US Customs and Border Protection, which has been stringently applying the FDA’s ban on drug imports last November and seizing medicines at border crossings.

Opponents of the proposal say stringent border controls are necessary to guard against the risk of terrorism, while supporters claim the ban panders to the drug industry which, they claim, has used homeland security as a lever to prevent parallel imports of cheaper drugs from Canada eating into US profits.