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Statement by AARP CEO Bill Novelli in Support of Bipartisan Rx Drug Importation Legislation

For Immediate Release

Contact: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560,

AARP supports H.R. 700, the bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Allen (D-ME), Marion Berry (D-AR), Dennis Moore (D-KS), Anne Northup (R-KY), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), and Zach Wamp (R-TN). The Emerson-Brown legislation is identical to S. 334, the Dorgan-Snowe importation legislation. The legislation would allow for the safe importation of prescription drugs, beginning with Canada.

The bipartisan Emerson-Brown bill, like the Dorgan-Snowe bill, includes important safety standards that have been urged by AARP. These include a system of registration, inspection, and the tracking of imported drugs; anti-tampering and anti-counterfeiting technologies; and labeling of imported drugs. The bills also include requirements for a website and toll-free telephone number that can be used by consumers to locate reputable sites for the purchase of imported drugs.

AARP believes that measures preventing drug companies from limiting supplies of drugs to suppliers and others from which lower cost pharmaceuticals would be imported is also critical to any prescription drug importation legislation. The legislative proposals both protect the integrity of pharmaceuticals and provide a streamlined process for consumers to access lower cost drugs.

Americans of all ages need access to lower priced prescription drugs. There is no longer any question as to whether importation should be legalized. Americans already are importing drugs. We must ensure that a system that guarantees both safety and costs savings is in place. AARP and our members will work hard this year for enactment of this legislation.

AARP is also embarked on a national prescription drug affordability campaign which includes importation as one of several measures to contain prices. Other steps include advocacy efforts to reduce state prescription drug spending, a "Watchdog" program that shines a spotlight on prices, educating consumers about the wise use of medications, working to inform the public about the new Medicare law including the Medicare drug discount cards and the Part D benefit that will become available in 2006.

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