Governor Tom Vilsack wants the state of Iowa to join a lawsuit Vermont has filed against the feds in a bid to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.Vilsack says Iowa’s proposal to have “Main Street” pharmacists buy cheaper drugs from wholesalers in Canada was praised as innovative by federal officials. But the feds have yet to rule whether it’s o-k for Iowa’s state employees and retirees to get their prescriptions filled that way. Vilsack says it’s just one way the state is exploring to lower the cost of prescription drugs for low-income Iowans who’re on Medicaid and seniors who’re on Medicare. Vilsack says Iowa’s feeling the rapid rise in prescription costs more than other states. Nationwide, prescription drug expenses have increased about 50 percent since 1998, but in Iowa, the increase is over 56 percent. Vilsack spoke at a prescription drug forum this morning in Des Moines. About two-hundred people crowded into the church basement for the event sponsored by the Iowa Citizens Action Network. Betty Ahrens, the group’s executive director, presented Vilsack with over 16-hundred letters from Iowans who’re upset about prescription drug costs. Ahrens says Iowans have major concerns and tell “devastating” stories about how rising prescription prices are effecting their lives.
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