/PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Senate today rejected an amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would help make prescription drugs more affordable by allowing for the safe and legal importation of lower priced drugs from abroad. The bipartisan amendment, endorsed by AARP and sponsored by Senators Dorgan, Snowe, McCain, Grassley and Stabenow, would have improved competition and helped to bring down the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs.
The Senate also rejected a second prescription drug importation amendment sponsored by Sen. Lautenberg, which would have created an unnecessary roadblock for prescription drug importation. In a move designed to block importation, the amendment prohibited importation of prescription drugs unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services can certify that it is safe to do so. Despite the fact that safety provisions are already built into the AARP-endorsed Dorgan-Snowe amendment, this version is designed to create administrative hurdles to effectively prevent importation.
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"While we applaud Senator Specter's support for the Dorgan-Snowe importation amendment, we are disappointed that he also effectively voted to block this provision from ever taking effect," said Dick Chevrefils, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. "The Lautenberg amendment is an unnecessary roadblock that would prevent importation and maintain the status quo of skyrocketing drug prices."
"AARP is also deeply disappointed that Senator Casey voted today for continuing the status quo and against lower prescription drug prices for his constituents," said Chevrefils. "With brand name drug prices rising at alarming rates, we hope he will further review the negative impact on the people of Pennsylvania and reconsider his position."
Making prescription drugs more affordable has long been one of AARP's top priorities. The Dorgan-Snowe-McCain-Grassley-Stabenow importation amendment would have been a first step toward lowering the cost of medications in this country. AARP will continue to fight for this amendment and against the unnecessary roadblocks that could prevent its implementation.
AARP notified the 111th Congress that it was tracking roll call votes on key legislation important to its nearly 40 million members and reporting the outcomes of these votes back to its members and all older Americans. "When Americans understand the issues and where their lawmakers stand, they can make smart decisions," said Chevrefils. "AARP will be there to give our members, as well as all Americans, the most accurate information we can."
AARP members and all older Americans can see how their representatives voted on health care reform by going to www.aarp.org/governmentwatch. AARP's Government Watch is a one-stop online portal that will be tracking and publicizing every designated key vote on issues facing Americans age 50-plus. A "Key Vote Summary" highlighting votes on these issues will be published at the end of each congressional session.
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