Lautenberg Drug Importation Amendment Defeated

An amendment offered by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to the health reform bill (H.R. 3590) has been defeated by a vote of 56 to 43. Sixty were needed for passage.

According to the AP, this amendment “permits drug imports but adds a requirement that the U.S. government certify that the imports will be safe — a guarantee that Democrats and Republicans agree would be impossible to make.”

It’s an alternative to an amendment offered by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

Dorgan and others saw Lautenberg’s amendment as a way to lure away Dorgan’s supporters. The North Dakotan has introduced his drug import amendment repeatedly over the last decade, only to see the Senate effectively kill it by adding requirements for safety guarantees.

“Lautenberg is a nullifier amendment,” Dorgan said in a brief interview. “We’ve seen that before, and the pharmaceutical industry supports advancing this as a way to defeat importation.”

Senator Lautenberg’s home state of New Jersey “is a center of the pharmaceutical industry.”

(credit image – getty)

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