September 11, 2013

Pharmacy groups sue Maine to stop new import law

A law that passed in June and goes into effect in October would allow a Canadian company to resume its mail-order business in Maine.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Importing meds

Do you agree with the decision by a Maine pharmaceutical industry coalition to sue the state over a law that prohibits importing prescription medication from other countries by mail?

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Related Documents

PDF: Pharmaceutical coalition's court complaint

"I sponsored legislation to restore access to safe, affordable, life-saving prescription drugs. My bill passed earlier this year and became Maine law with the support of a majority of Maine legislators," he said in a written statement. "We had a successful, tested, open lifeline to CanaRx that was cut off by drug companies looking to charge higher and higher prices for drugs that Maine people could buy for a lot less. My bill reopened access to CanaRx and affirmed that individuals in Maine can obtain prescription drugs from the countries where CanaRx fills prescriptions."

But Kenneth McCall, president of the Maine Pharmacy Association, said the law offers no safeguards from allowing counterfeit or expired medications and ignores the role that pharmacists play in delivering quality health care.

"In addition to identifying potential drug interactions for patients who may receive multiple prescriptions, Maine pharmacists regularly consult directly with prescribing physicians when questions arise," he said. "Maine pharmacists also help inform patients about the medications that have been prescribed and are available to consult with patients in the event that the patient has an adverse reaction.

"This new law deprives Maine residents and Maine physicians of these critically important functions that Maine pharmacists provide."

Additionally, the suit says, there already are more than 500 licensed mail-order pharmacies that do business with Maine and that must comply with state regulations.

The lawsuit first asks the court to grant a preliminary injunction preventing thelaw from going into effect Oct. 9. Ultimately, the coalition of pharmacists and pharmacy groups wants the law invalidated.

State officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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Today's poll: Importing meds

Do you agree with the decision by a Maine pharmaceutical industry coalition to sue the state over a law that prohibits importing prescription medication from other countries by mail?

Yes

No

View Results