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January 5, 2005

Governors Blagojevich and Doyle Urge Bush Administration to Take Action on Possible Restriction of Prescription Drugs From Canada

CHICAGO- Governor Rod Blagojevich and Governor Jim Doyle (D-WI) today sent a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to use the full diplomatic influence of the United States to discourage Canada from restricting Americans from purchasing safe, affordable prescription medications. An estimated two million Americans already purchase their prescription drugs from Canada.  
“At a time when two million Americans stand to lose their access to affordable prescription drugs from Canada, the Bush Administration is turning its back on consumers rather than taking action to protect them,” Governor Blagojevich said.  “Even if Canada moves forward with its plans to shut its borders to American consumers, I-Save Rx will continue to provide access to safe and affordable medicine from other countries, like the United Kingdom and Ireland.” 
In early October Gov. Blagojevich was joined by Gov. Doyle in launching the I-Save Rx prescription drug program--the first program in the nation to allow citizens to purchase lower cost, safe prescription drugs from Europe and Canada.  Since the launch, I-Save Rx has expanded to include residents of Missouri and Kansas.
Recent media reports have indicated that Canada is considering effectively banning prescription medications from Canada to the U.S. The news follows a November 30, 2004 meeting between President Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, where the issue of re-importing prescription drugs was discussed.
"While it is unknown what message President Bush gave to Prime Minister Martin during their previous meeting, my hope is that President Bush will now make it clear that the U.S. government does not want drug companies to restrict their supply to Canadian distributors," Governor Doyle said. "This potential change would hurt not just the pocketbooks of those who get their medications from Canada - it could also seriously jeopardize the health of millions of Americans."
The I-SaveRx import program builds-in numerous safety measures to ensure the quality and safety of drugs dispensed.  The list of available drugs is limited to those that are used for long periods of time, and that cannot spoil during the shipping process.  Consumers can order eligible drugs for re-fill only, so patients and their doctors have had time to review for unanticipated side-effects or interactions.  All network pharmacies agree to comply with Illinois pharmaceutical standards, and to only dispense drugs that are intended as domestic product in Canada, Ireland or the U.K. – meaning the pharmacies cannot dispense prescription drugs from other countries that are not part of the program to I-SaveRx consumers.
Participants in the I-SaveRx plan can save an average of 25 to 50 percent on the cost of the most common medications used to treat chronic conditions.     Residents of Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas can enroll or find out more information about the I-Save Rx program by calling toll-free 1-866-ISAVE33, or visiting www.I-SaveRx.net.     


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