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September 27, 2004

Gov. Blagojevich Praises AARP Efforts Stir Federal Action on Prescription Drug Importation
Governor applauds Michigan seniors for hosting prescription drug rallies at Canadian border

CHICAGO- Today, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich voiced his support for AARP rallies being held on Michigan’s three bridges to Canada. The rallies – taking place in Detroit, Port Huron and Sault Ste. Marie – are calling on federal lawmakers to recognize and provide safeguards for the importation of low cost prescription drugs. 
“People are pulling together across the country to win access to affordable prescription drugs,” the Governor said. “We’re doing what we can at the state level, but real, long-term change will require action at the federal level.  The United States Senate has an opportunity to make a huge difference in millions of people’s lives.  We hope Senator Frist will not pass up this chance.”
The rallies are sponsored by the American Association of Retired People (AARP) and will be attended by many AARP members.  Almost 80% of AARP members are in favor of the importation of prescription drugs.  A main focus of the rallies is for the passage of the Dorgan-Snowe bill, a Senate bill legalizing and providing safeguards for imported prescription medication. Debbie Stabenow  (D-MI) and Carl Levin (D-MI), Michigan’s two senators are both co-sponsors of the Dorgan-Snowe bill; Stabenow will attend the Detroit rally.
In a September 10th letter, Governor Blagojevich along with Governors Jim Doyle (D-WI) and Craig Benson (R-NH) called on Senate Majority leader Bill Frist to allow the bi-partisan Dorgan-Snowe bill to reach the Senate floor.  A similar bill passed the house several times. 
In late August, Governor Blagojevich announced that Illinois will establish a program enabling its residents to order their prescription drugs from state-inspected pharmacies and wholesalers in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.  Illinois’ program will be limited to prescription refills that can only be filled after a network physician in Canada or the UK has approved and re-written the American prescription.  Narcotics and perishable drugs will not included in the program.  The plan will be launched in the coming weeks.   


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