Sanders, pharmaceutical executive advocate for drug re-importation

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(Host) A prominent executive with a pharmaceutical company has broken ranks with his company – and his industry – on the question of drug re-importation. And Congressman Bernie Sanders says he’s got the right idea.

Max Cacas has more from our Capitol Hill Bureau:

(Bernie Sanders) “The momentum for re-importation and the absolute necessity to substantially lower the cost of prescription drugs in our country – the momentum is with us.”

(Cacas) Vermont independent Congressman Bernie Sanders believes more and more Americans are climbing on board the bandwagon in favor of legal re importation of drugs which sell for a fraction of the price in Canada and other countries.

(Sanders) “We now have a number of states, Democratic and Republican governors who have placed on their Web site information about re-importation. Just this week the very county where the FDA’s headquarters are located – Montgomery County, Maryland – came on board this national movement with a plan of their own.”

(Cacas) At a Capitol Hill press conference, Sanders proudly introduced the prominent drug company executive, Dr. Peter Roast, vice president of marketing at Pfizer, Inc. in New Jersey. He’s broken ranks with his firm and the drug industry to promote the cause of drug re-importation.

(Roast) “In Europe, re-importation of drug has been done safely for over 20 years – 20 years. There are large specializing in nothing but buying drugs in southern Europe – Spain, Italy, Greece – where they’re cheaper.”

(Cacas) Roast, who used to market drugs in Europe, says his experience there indicates that – if handled properly – re-imported drugs in the U.S. could help drive down the costs of health care. Roast says his bosses don’t agree with his stand and have sent letters to lawmakers trying to discredit his statements.

For VPR News, I’m Max Cacas on Capitol Hill.

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