Vermont Voted to Buy Its Prescription Drugs from Canada, and the Pharmaceutical Industry Is Not Pleased

Many critics of America’s pharmaceutical industry have argued that the best way to bring down drug prices is to let Americans buy prescription drugs from countries with nationalized health care systems. Those countries’ governments negotiate lower drug prices, and their consumers pay a fraction of what Americans do for most pharmaceutical products. If Americans could order from overseas, the theory goes, pharmaceutical companies would have to lower their prices here. (They arguably can’t raise them abroad.)
This week, Vermont took a step toward testing that theory by passing legislation that would create a system for wholesale importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, signed the bill Wednesday after the state’s overwhelmingly Democratic legislature voted 141–2 in the House and unanimously in the Senate to pass S.175.
“It is outrageous that a commonly used medicine like Lipitor costs 46 times more per pill in the United States than in

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