Berry Statement on Senate Importation Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United States Representative Marion Berry (AR-01) released this statement regarding the Senate’s efforts to pass a proposal for direct importation of prescription drugs, which would have made it easier to import cheaper prescription drugs into the United States from Canada and Western Europe. Congressman Berry has been a longtime advocate for importation. Senator Byron Dorgan introduced the Senate companion bill to Congressman Berry’s bill H.R. 1298, Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2009. The vote on the Senate amendment was 51 to 48, nine short of the 60 needed for passage.

“Although this bill fell short in the Senate, I will continue to work to fight against the powerful pharmaceutical companies to provide Americans with cheaper prescription drugs.  I also commend Senators Lincoln and Pryor for supporting this legislation by voting in favor of this bill.

“As a former pharmacist, I know how important it is for patients to receive the drugs they need to manage their illnesses. Unfortunately, because pharmaceutical companies have a monopoly on the market, they are allowed to raise the cost of their drugs or charge whatever they want simply because they lack competition.

“No one should be forced to choose between paying for their prescription drugs and other basic needs like rent or groceries.  This is wrong. Health insurance reform must continue, and I will continue to work to find a way to keep pharmaceutical companies from robbing Americans of not only their money, but also the medications they desperately need.”