December 14, 2012

Portland: Canadian drugs would save us millions

Maine AG William Schneider stopped the purchase of Canadian drugs because suppliers didn't have Maine licenses. But Portland plans to fight the law, which costs the city $3.2 million per year.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Canadian drugs

Should Maine allow residents to purchase prescription drugs from Canada?

Yes

No

View Results

click image to enlarge

In this file photo, a number of Ritalin SR pills. City leaders want to change Maine law to allow mail-order prescription drug purchases from Canada – a practice that saved the city $3.2 million over an eight-year period before the state shut it down this fall.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

click image to enlarge

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

Brennan said he continues to oppose charter schools, but the change proposed by Alfond would "have a very positive financial effect on the city of Portland."

David Connerty-Marin, spokesman for the Department of Education, said the magnet school in Limestone is funded through the state's kindergarten-through-12th-grade funding program. Putting charter schools in that category would shift costs from city residents to residents throughout the state, he said.

Portland's other priorities include:

• State funding to rebuild Hall Elementary School and improve older elementary schools. The city may move forward on its own, which could disqualify it from state support.

• Securing $22 million to $25 million to build a transportation hub with structured parking on Thompson's Point, which is poised for a $100 million development, including an arena, offices, restaurants, a hotel and a sports medicine lab.

• Legislation to create the Southern Maine Regional Transportation Authority, which could eventually merge with Metro, South Portland Bus, Shuttlebus Zoom and other transportation agencies.

• A regional lodging and/or meals tax.

After the meeting, Sen. Anne Haskell, D-Portland, said the city's legislative priorities are consistent with what she has heard in the past, except for the prescription drug and charter school issues.

While some initiatives -- such as a local option sales tax -- have failed in the past and will likely encounter resistance in the upcoming session, Haskell said a new coalition of mayors from cities around Maine could play a major role in helping advance Portland's priorities.

"The value of the Mayor's Coalition cannot be underestimated," she said.

 

Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @randybillings

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Today's poll: Canadian drugs

Should Maine allow residents to purchase prescription drugs from Canada?

Yes

No

View Results