Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In the News: McCain, Obama Back Prescription Drug Importation But Acknowledge Safety Concerns, Advisers Say

Presidential candidates Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have reaffirmed their support for allowing Americans to import cheaper prescription drugs from abroad, but both campaigns note that concerns over international drug safety will take precedence in determining this policy, commonly known as drug reimportation.

At a generic pharmaceuticals conference in September, senior advisers to the Obama and McCain campaigns acknowledged that recent incidents with tainted heparin, a blood thinner, and infant formula that were imported into the United States from China illustrate the policy challenges to ensuring drug safety abroad.

“We have not changed our position on this issue, but obviously there have been concerns in countries like China,” Obama campaign adviser Neera Tanden said in an interview. “Our plan does not envision importing drugs from China . . . but from countries with strong records of safety, like Canada and Europe.”

The McCain campaign also confirmed continued support for drug reimportation. Campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said in an e-mail McCain understands the need to have a “properly documented” drug supply chain, and he would insist that all imported drugs “meet state and federal standards for safety.” Rogers also noted that additional Food and Drug Administration funding would be needed to secure imported drugs.

This is an excerpt from an October 27 article in Congressional Quarterly by Meghan McCarthy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

In the News: MS Health Reform Principles and Presidential Prospects

Multiple sclerosis is a challenging illness that raises difficult issues in every area from basic stem cell research to insurance reforms, to disability policy, to clinical research and care. Not surprisingly, then, the MS community is anxiously watching the health reform debate…

[The National Multiple Sclerosis Society] enunciates seven basic principles (click here to view the National Health Care Reform Principles) that provide a great starting point to evaluate the two candidate's competing plans… It reflects the unique perspective of people whose lives, health, and financial solvency are deeply affected by what will happen on November 4…

People living with MS need serious help. Most are insured, have worked for decades, and are now treated shabbily by our health financing system. Others with equally serious diseases are treated similarly… If you, or someone you care about, might someday face a serious chronic illness--and that's pretty much all of us--you have four weeks to make a difference.

This is an excerpt from a blog entry by Harold Pollack in the Huffington Post. Read the complete story here.