Editorial: Pawlenty urged to support drug program

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2005

Ujjal Dosanjh.

Hard name to spell. Hard name to pronounce.

However, it might be a familiar one to many Minnesotans before too long.

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Dosanjh is the Canadian health minister who believes that drugs aren’t the answer. Or, at least his aren’t.

Dosanjh is making not-so-subtle hints that Canada may discontinue reimportation of American drugs. If this happens, it could mean thousands of Minnesotans would have to pay more for their prescriptions.

However, last week Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Kevin Goodno toured the state,

shopping for a plan that would allow Minnesotans the option to purchase drugs from the United Kingdom.

The program is similar to the program the state set up with Canadian pharmacies to reimport prescription drugs.

Rather than waiting around to see if something bad would happen in Canada, Goodno and the DHS decided to make sure that other lines were kept open. Under this plan which still includes the Canadian pharmacies, the U.K pharmacies would also be added &045; more options likely mean more savings. No matter what side of the political fence you fall on, no one loves overpaying for prescription drugs. And, once you strip away the politics from this issue, that’s what this issue really boils down to &045; whether some Americans buy food or buy medicine.

With the baby boomers getting older and living longer, and with continuing breakthroughs in medication, reasonably priced drugs will only get more important.

The battle cry of opponents to drug reimportation has always been that it would be hard to control the quality of drugs that were being sold back to Americans. However, the DHS reports that two inspectors recently concluded that British and European Union standards were comparable to those used in the United States.

This is exactly the kind of plan that has made Minnesota a perennial leader in health and human services. It is the kind of progressive thinking that seems to defy party lines and is a part of our statewide identity.

The DHS’ recommendation heads to the governor’s office shortly and we urge Gov. Tim Pawlenty to endorse this program, which will protect thousands of Minnesotans’ access to affordable medicine.

&045; Winona Daily News