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Panel Questions Opposition to Drug Imports

THE NATION

March 05, 2004|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers questioned Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on Thursday about his opposition to importing prescription drugs from Canada, an issue showing no signs of fading this election year.

Questions from Democrats and Republicans on the House Appropriations health subcommittee focused on Thompson's decision to appoint Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Mark McClellan to lead a study of drug importation.

"When Mark McClellan is put in charge of this consideration, it's a stacked jury. He's been the most aggressive public name in stopping reimportation," said Rep. Anne M. Northup (R-Ky.). President Bush has nominated McClellan to lead the federal agency that runs Medicare.

Thompson said the first public hearing of McClellan's panel would feature proponents of legalizing drug imports from Canada, where prescription drugs often are much cheaper.

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