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Seniors Reach Out to Importation Supporters on the Hill; Well-Intentioned Reps Given Chance to Recommit to Senior Safety


WASHINGTON, June 22 -- The Seniors Coalition (TSC), the nation’s leading free-market senior advocacy organization with more than 4 million members, extended an olive branch today to 221 members of the House of Representatives who recently affixed their signature to a letter sent to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) in which they called for a vote on the issue of prescription drug importation.

“These members, through their actions, have shown an obvious concern for assuring that senior citizens have access to affordable prescription drugs, and we applaud their commitment,” said Mary Martin, TSC’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Their conclusion that prescription drug importation is the best option for access to affordable prescriptions, however, is absolutely wrong.”

The House of Representatives is currently considering two pieces of legislation that would legalize the importation of prescription drugs from foreign countries. Both bills claim that such an importation policy will save seniors money at the cash register and prove to be a safe method of obtaining prescription drugs. According to the FDA and the Surgeon General of the United States “Americans can have either safe or cheap drugs, not both.”

“I believe that many members of Congress signed on to this letter believing that the proposed legislation would permit importation of prescription drugs only from Canada, and that the drugs imported would be FDA-approved, safe, effective, not adulterated, and fully compliant with U.S. law,” Martin said. “That simply is not the case.”

Both proposals under consideration in the House allow for the importation of prescription drugs from more than 20 foreign countries; have no guarantees for the safety of imported drugs; have no guarantees of legal recourse for patients injured by ingesting a tainted or counterfeit imported prescription drug; no labeling requirements for drugs imported from foreign countries; and no opt-out option for patients to indicate their desire not to take imported prescription drugs.

Results from several research polls indicate that seniors are not willing to place themselves, or their health, at risk in order to save a few dollars at the pharmacy. A recent national poll, commissioned by TSC, indicated that 71 percent of seniors oppose allowing the importation of prescription drugs from more than 20 foreign countries including Slovakia, Greece, Portugal, Estonia and Latvia (with 56 percent strongly opposed).

“There is a delicate balance for seniors when it comes to managing their money and maintaining their health,” Martin continued. “Now that seniors have indicated where they stand, we want to give the 221 members of Congress, who signed the Hastert letter, the opportunity to recommit to ensuring that seniors can safely access prescription drugs by opposing the unsafe policy of open drug importation.”


The Seniors Coalition is the nation’s fastest growing senior education and advocacy organization with a membership of more than 4 million seniors. We are a non-partisan, non-profit 501c(4) organization.


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