Americans would be permitted to legally import prescription drugs from Canada if a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree becomes law.

Pingree, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 1st District, introduced a bill that would allow Americans to purchase – from approved Canadian pharmacies – medications that are dispensed by a licensed pharmacist and then mailed to the U.S.

Prescription drugs in Canada are often less expensive – on average about half the price – than those found in the United States, according to Pingree.

Americans spend an average of nearly $1,000 per person per year on prescription drugs, much more than any other country, according to Pingree’s office.

Americans can travel to Canada, purchase prescriptions there and bring them back across the border, but Pingree’s bill would save them the trip. Currently, purchasing the drugs online is illegal, although some Americans buy them anyway from Canadian websites.

“I think it’s crazy that people in Maine can’t buy lower-cost prescription drugs from just across the border in Canada. The fact is, Americans have been doing it safely for years and I think it’s time the federal government got out of the way and let consumers take advantage of a lower-price alternative,” Pingree said in a statement.

Pingree’s bill is identical to legislation introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. The senators first touted the bill in 2014, but it failed in Congress.

“These high prices have a direct impact on people’s health,” Pingree said in a news release. “A recent survey found that nearly a quarter of American adults skipped doses or did not fill a prescription because of the cost.”

When Pingree served in the Maine Legislature, she led bus trips to Canada where seniors purchased prescriptions at Canadian pharmacies.