Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006

2/16/2005

OD on Rx

Now that Gutknecht and Kennedy are in a dust-up over drug reimportation, the issue can’t stay out of the headlines.

Minnesota’s other prominent reimportation-backing Republican, Governor Tim Pawlenty, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the state’s RXConnect program. A state-run website, RXConnect provides information on drug price comparisons and a list of recommended pharmacies in Canada. It does not sell drugs.

”The Web site has been used to order about 9,000 prescriptions worth about $1.1 million during its first year of operation, but it has also sparked conflict between Pawlenty's administration and the federal government. In February 2004, associate FDA commissioner Peter Pitts accused Pawlenty of "breaking both American and Canadian law" by operating the site, although Pawlenty said the agency had yet to take legal action against the state.

At Wednesday's hearing, Pawlenty dismissed arguments about the safety of the drug imports his administration encouraged, and called on Congress to allow Minnesota to continue operating its program.
"If you can't help us, at least stay out of our way," Pawlenty told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. "Help us if you can, but in a worst-case scenario, at least let us be."


Pawlenty’s testimony was complemented by none other than Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) who said Pawlenty was ”one of the most persuasive Republicans I've ever heard.” That might not be the kind of endorsement Pawlenty was seeking but it keeps the issue of drug reimportation in the news for another day, which right now bodes well for Gutknecht.

--Posted by First Ringer

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