Iowa’s Governor is ready to consider buying prescription drugs in Canada as a way to cut costs. The state spends about 350-million dollars each year to buy medications for state workers and Iowans who’re on Medicaid. Governor Tom Vilsack discussed the possible Canada connection for prescription drugs during a speech yesterday before the Older Iowans Legislature. Vilsack says Iowans and Americans are “somewhat mystified” by the fact you can purchase a drug in Canada and pay a “significantly” lower price than you would in the U.S. He says some raise the issue of risk from the drugs, and says they’re willing to work with drug companies on risk management, but says the drugs can be bought far more cheaply in Canada than in the US. State government leaders in Illinois are exploring the same idea. Vilsack says if enough states start talking about buying prescription drugs in Canada, there’ll be pressure on drug companies to respond and lower prices. Vilsack says he will lobby the federal government to lift its ban on importing prescription drugs. Iowa has already adopted a “preferred drug list” that allows the state to buy some medications at reduced rates. Vilsack says by saving money on prescription drug purchases, the state could use that money on other priorities.
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