Scott Will Call Lawmakers Back For Special Session Next Wednesday

Annette Crawford
May 18, 2018

"We've found that drugs from Canada are very safe and the equivalent of FDA-approved, and we could keep our costs down by having our own wholesale importer and allow our people to buy at this reduced cost".

The law was met with opposition from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, (PhRMA) as spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll called promotion of the Vermont legislation "highly irresponsible" and warned of an increase in counterfeit drugs. HHS still has to certify Vermont's program.

But Scott said he's confident the program has safeguards and will save taxpayers money. We're going to do our best to make sure that it ah the Agency of Services does their due diligence in trying to accomplish that.

Scott has said he believes this will lead to $300 millions in savings, though the Joint Fiscal Office has called these projections into doubt.

Vermont House Health Care Committee Chair Bill Lippert says the bill allows the state to apply to the federal government for authorization to create a Vermont wholesaler that would then work with Canadian prescription drug wholesalers to import less expensive Canadian drugs. "When everybody takes a step back from the politics, we're quite close to an agreement".

Ashe noted that all seven Republicans in the Senate and a large majority in the House voted in favor of the budget.

The primary barrier is federal authorization. "The last thing we need is open borders for unsafe drugs in search of savings that can not be safely achieved", HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a May 14 speech.

Instead, they invested in the state's financial health, including $34 million to chip away unfunded pensions for state employees and teachers. Executive Director Trish Riley notes that while nine states have considered such bills, Vermont is the trailblazer by enacting the measure. The bill was reportedly based upon legislation previously drafted by National Academy for State Health Policy; the organization estimated that the cost of prescription drugs in Canada are about 30 percent lower.

A $5.8 billion 2019 fiscal year spending plan approved by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and State Senate over the weekend would increase total taxes by almost $50 million including $33.4 million in property taxes, according to the Republican governor.

Gibbs optimism, however, betrays the philosophical divide between lawmakers and the governor that led to Scott to issue the veto threat in the first place.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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