Kaiser Rolls

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  • 01/20/2006

The folks at the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation must be getting desperate if they need to purposely misinterpret me. Here’s what they said …

Letter to Congress From Schwarzenegger Could Spur Action on Prescription Drug Reimportation, Some Observers Say

A letter California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) sent to Congress this month urging it to approve legislation legalizing the reimportation of medicines from abroad could lead to prescription drug legislation this year because of California’s “size and influence,” some experts say, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Peter Pitts — a former associate FDA commissioner and current vice president for health affairs at the public relations agency Manning, Selvage & Lee — said that Schwarzenegger’s letter is “really important” because it represents “an acknowledgement from the largest state (by population) in the Union that this issue is a federal one” that needs to be addressed by Congress and not at the state level. Schwarzenegger has vetoed four reimportation bills because he is “concerned that quick legislative fixes at the state level would be contrary to federal law and over-simplify the complex safety, trade, supply and pricing issues involved” (Wood, Christian Science Monitor, 1/18).

Boy is that reading the Christian Science Monitor with rose-colored glasses. The quote is accurate. I did say (and I do feel) that Governor Schwarzenegger’s statement that importation is a Federal issue is very important — but not because I support the idea of bringing in unsafe, unregulated, often counterfeit drugs — but rather because it sends a strong message to folks like Wrong-Way Rod Blagojevich and DC Comics Councilman David Catania that just because a state or local pol says foreign drugs are safe doesn’t make them so. That’s the FDA’s job. That’s what Arnold said. And that’s why it’s important.

Here’s a link to an article I penned in Sacramento’s Capitol Weekly. If I leave any room for doubt as to where I stand or what I think on this issue — please let me know.

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I think that the people at Kaiser must have their pointy helmets on too tight.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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