White House: Re-importation isn't dead

And you thought you could stop worrying about re-importation. Just a few days after it was killed off by senators negotiating their healthcare reform deal, it got a new lease on life from the White House. The Obama administration yesterday promised it would press forward with its proposal to allow prescription drugs to be re-imported from markets such as Canada where they are sold at cheaper prices--just not as part of healthcare reform.

Apparently, the White House wants to avoid the ire of Big Pharma long enough to pass the reform package. Adviser David Axelrod told CNN that President Obama supports "safe re-importation," saying, "There's no reason why Americans should pay a premium for the pharmaceuticals that people in other countries pay less for." The pharma industry has been lobbying hard against re-importation, for the obvious reasons.

Axelrod says any re-importation measure would have to address the FDA's objections to the idea, which include worries about policing their safety. The agency would likely need more resources--a.k.a. funding and staff--to handle its oversight. "The president is committed to moving forward once we resolve the issues that the FDA has," Axelrod said on CNN's "State of the Union" program. What about Big Pharma's issues? We'll have to wait and see how the president handles them.

- read the Reuters news