Widening a revolt by several governors and mayors against federal policy, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle says he plans to meet with representatives from Canadian pharmacies at the state capital in Madison next week to discuss importing prescription drugs from Canada.
Wisconsin, which had to pay $727 million this year on prescription drugs, could save tens of millions of dollars through Canadian purchases, according to information from one Web site, CanadaDrugs.com, Doyle's office said in a release from Wednesday.
"Just going on their Web site like any consumer, you can find huge savings over what the state currently pays," Doyle says in the release.
Doyle joins the governors of Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and West Virginia, as well as the mayors of New York and Boston, who recently have stated they want to buy cheap prescription medications in Canada for state health insurance programs.
Earlier this year, Michael Albano, the Democratic mayor of Springfield, Mass., started a program to buy drugs in Canada for city employees, retirees and their dependents.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has opposed reimportation of drugs from Canada, warning of the possibility of counterfeit drugs. But last week, William Hubbard, the FDA's associate commissioner of policy and planning, told reporters that the agency won't sue cities and states that set up plans to bring in the unapproved drugs, the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reports.
Meanwhile, negotiators reconciling House and Senate versions of the Medicare drug bill have been considering a provision to allow Canadian drug imports.