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Rx Drugs

November 26, 2003 | Daily News

In the face of burgeoning federal deficits, Democrats and senior advocates are going to have a tough time trying to convince Congress to close the coverage gap in the new Medicare drug benefit that now awaits the signature of President Bush, according to lawmakers and experts on both sides of the debate.

November 25, 2003 | Daily News

A Minnesota state court judge wants more information from the attorney general's office and drug company GlaxoSmithKline before deciding if GSK should be forced to hand over documents about the firm's decision to block sales to Canadian pharmacies selling drugs to U.S. consumers. Meanwhile, the AG's office says not all drug importation is illegal and GSK cannot violate antitrust law to curb illegal imports.

The judge gave the two parties two weeks to submit more information, a source says.

November 25, 2003 | Daily News

Five months after the Senate overwhelmingly passed its own Medicare prescription drug bill, a compromise negotiated with House GOP leaders passed the Senate today (Nov. 25) by a much narrower margin as Democratic leaders railed against the inadequacy of the drug benefit and the bill's push for seniors to join private plans.

After Republican leadership was able to narrowly overcome House passed the conference report 220-215 after GOP leaders convinced colleagues to change their votes.

November 24, 2003 | Daily News

Senate Democrats failed in a last-ditch effort to kill the Medicare prescription drug bill today (Nov. 24), as the bill's backers were able to muster just enough votes to defeat, by a 61-39 margin, a budget point of order offered by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD).

The vote likely indicates the bill will pass the Senate when it comes to a final vote.. It waives all budget points of order against the Medicare bill, clearing the way of additional procedural hurdles Democrats could have put in the way of passage.

November 23, 2003 | Daily News

The House of Representatives approved a plan to reform Medicare and give seniors prescription drug coverage Saturday (Nov. 22), finally securing a GOP victory after a marathon roll call vote that initially looked set to deliver Democrats a major political upset.

Shortly before 6a.m. - almost three hours after the vote began - Republicans finally clinched enough votes to pass the predominantly GOP-crafted drug bill, 220 to 215. House Democrats condemned the result, which came after they led the vote tally by 218 to 216 for over an hour.

November 21, 2003 | Daily News

It appears that FDA's spending bill for fiscal year 2004 will not include a provision that would bar the agency from using funds to block drug reimportation from Canada despite a strong House plea that conferees keep the measure. The provision was stripped during early staff-level discussions, a congressional source says.

The House passed a motion Nov. 18 urging appropriations bill conferees to include the provision in the final bill. The House version of the bill included such language, but the Senate version did not.

November 21, 2003 | Daily News

As proponents of Medicare drug legislation work to shore-up enough votes for passage, AARP -- one of the legislation's key backers -- has denied a suggestion by top Democrats that it has a financial conflict of interest in the landmark drug bill.

November 20, 2003 | Daily News

FDA and Health Canada clashed on whether Canadian Internet pharmacies are selling unsafe prescription drugs in the United States, just days after the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at tackling potential safety problems stemming from cross-border drug sales, FDA and Canadian sources say.

November 20, 2003 | Daily News

GOP leaders brought former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to the House Republican Conference Wednesday (Nov. 19) to try to convince House conservatives to vote for the Medicare conference report as Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) indicated that support for the bill among the party's right wing was tenuous.

Thomas told reporters that he is "concerned that they will vote against the bill because they are uninformed" about how fiscally conservative it actually is and that "it's my job to inform them."

November 20, 2003 | Daily News

House Democrats, worried that the Republican majority would renege on its promise to allow members three full calendar days to inspect the Medicare conference report before its consideration, issued a letter to the House Rules Committee demanding more time to inspect the bill.

November 20, 2003 | Daily News

Congress took a step closer to giving Medicare beneficiaries long-awaited prescription drug coverage today (Nov. 20), unveiling a $395 billion legislative blueprint hammered out by House and Senate negotiators that now heads to the House floor for an expected partisan vote battle.

November 20, 2003 | Daily News

FDA and Health Canada signed a memorandum of understanding this week to share information on pharmacies that export prescription drugs to either nation. The MOU will allow the two countries to share information on quality defects or product recalls and regulations or policies regarding drugs. The MOU also covers sharing information about post marketing surveillance of drugs.

November 19, 2003 | Daily News

The likelihood of a Democratic filibuster on Medicare legislation appears to be faltering, with key Senate Democrats downplaying the possibility and the chamber's minority leader acknowledging some of his caucus now appears to be backing the GOP-based bill.

November 19, 2003 | Daily News

House Democratic leaders, with the backing of allied seniors groups and labor unions, are whipping up opposition to the Medicare prescription drug bill, seeking to minimize defections by conservative Democrats working to discredit the bill's endorsement by AARP.

Democrats and their allies are focusing on the premium support demonstration, arguing that competition between private plans and traditional Medicare will lead to the privatization of the government program.

November 19, 2003 | Daily News

Rep. John Carter (R-TX) on Tuesday (Nov. 18) became the first of the so-called "Toomey 13" to publicly announce his support for the Medicare conference report and said that other conservative Republicans would follow.

The group of 13 House GOP conservatives, led by Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA), voted for the House bill in June but signed a letter in September threatening to vote against a conference report that lacks certain fiscally conservative provisions that were in the House bill.

November 19, 2003 | Daily News

Lawmakers of both parties and even HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson courted the House Blue Dog coalition Tuesday (Nov. 18) to support the Medicare bill, signaling the GOP's need for bipartisan backing as support from House conservative Republicans weakens.

Nine members of the moderate-to-conservative House Democratic group crossed party lines to secure passage of the House bill in June as the only members to defy the minority leadership. The coalition's potential for cross-over votes that could mitigate conservative GOP defections make it very valuable as a final vote draws nearer.

November 19, 2003 | Daily News

Top congressional Democrats are demanding answers from AARP about why it decided to support the tentative Medicare agreement hammered out by congressional conferees, and 85 Democratic members or prospective members of the seniors group made a strong political statement by announcing yesterday they would resign from or not join AARP.

November 19, 2003 | Daily News

The House passed a motion Tuesday (Nov. 18) urging lawmakers charged with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the FDA fiscal year 2004 appropriations bill to include language that would prohibit FDA from spending money to stop drug reimportation from Canada. The House version of the bill already includes such language, but the Senate version does not.

November 19, 2003 | Daily News

Despite FDA's suggestion that people buy generic versions of U.S. drugs instead of resorting to buying drugs from Canada, there are only generics available for about 10 percent of the drugs that Illinois is considering buying from Canada, according to a letter.

November 19, 2003 | Daily News

An influential House conservative this week came out against the Medicare conference report and urged fellow Republicans to vote down a bill that lacks comprehensive market reforms and a means to contain the program's growing costs.

Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who in September led an effort by 13 conservative Republicans to push for fiscally conservative provisions in the bill, said in a Nov. 18 statement that the conference report "falls short of needed reforms."

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