Urology Times

Urology Times.Based on a partnership with Urology Times, articles from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU) provide updates on legislative processes and issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact the AACU government affairs office at (847) 517-1050 or info@aacuweb.org for more information.

Drug Importation: Shortsighted and Ineffective

posted: June 5, 2017

After storming onto the scene following a few highly publicized controversies, the cost of prescription drugs continues to be at the forefront of the health care debate in America, and for good reason. List prices for drugs in the U.S. are on the rise, and, as the health care system gets more complex and convoluted, even those with insurance are being forced to pay more out of pocket for their prescriptions. It is therefore hardly surprising that according to a recent poll, 77% of Americans believe the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable, and 74% think Americans pay higher prices for their drugs than people in Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe.

In the face of mounting pressure to take definitive action to keep the costs of prescriptions down, an increasing number of legislators are addressing drug costs in a variety of ways.

One method that is gaining traction in Washington is drug importation. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently introduced a bill to permit drugs to be imported first from Canada and then from other developed countries after 2 years. The proposed legislation has become somewhat popular among Democrats in Congress. On its surface, it appears to be an appealing idea: drugs are cheaper abroad due to price controls and other mechanisms, and bringing in those cheaper drugs gives Americans lower cost alternatives to U.S.-manufactured medications. But as alluring as it may seem at first glance, drug importation in reality is as dangerous as it is ineffective.

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Legislative Priorities
  • Proper Implementation of MACRA

    Urologists support the goals of Medicare payment reform, but Congress must monitor its implementation to ensure that the intent of MACRA is fully realized and preserved.BackgroundIn April 2015, Congress passed, and the president signed into law, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (P...

  • Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board

    Urologists urge Congress to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). We urge Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 849. We urge Senators to cosponsor S. 251 and S. 260. Each of these measures would permanently repeal the IPAB.Take ActionSend an email to Congress, requesting support for H...

  • Support Transparency and Accountability for USPSTF

    Urologists urge Congress to support legislation that promotes greater transparency and accountability from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF).  We urge representatives to cosponsor H.R. 539, the “USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017”.Take ActionSend...

State Advocacy
  • Fair Contracting and Medical Practice Freedom

    Where We Stand Ensure openness and fairness in health care provider contacts. Prevent third-party payors from changing the terms of their provider contract without notice to the provider and without the consent of the provider. Ensure that physician licensure is based upon a physician's...

  • Medical Liability Reform — Expert Witness Qualifications

    Strengthen expert witness standards Ensure that expert witness is from the same specialty as the defendant physician Prevent frivolous lawsuits Improve the practice environment for physicians in your stateWhenever a physician’s conduct is being called into question, it is only fair...

  • Prostate Cancer Awareness & Assessment

    Where We Stand Continue the progress that has been made in the reduction of prostate cancer morbidity and mortality with the appropriate use of prostate cancer testing. Ensure that third-party payors provide for the reimbursement of prostate cancer testing when the patient and his physician...

  • Uniform Prior Authorization for Prescriptions and Health Services

    Where We Stand Prior authorizations cost the health system $728 million in 2012. Prior authorization requests must use a single form, no more than two pages in length. Forms must available for both access and submission electronically. Requests are deemed approved if no response is...

  • Work Force — Scope of Practice

    Where We Stand Allow the maximum patient-to-physician ratio to increase based on the number of physician assistants in a practice. Expand the ability of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to supervise medical assistants when doctors aren’t on the premises.Proactive Physician...

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