For Immediate Release
Monday, October 11, 2004

Seniors Endorse Sanders / Dr. Sanders Discusses Medicare and the Reimportation of Prescription Drugs
      Dr. Sanders briefly presented his approach concerning the pharmaceutical industry.  "I am not an opponent of the pharmaceutical industry.  As a professional biomedical researcher I understand the economics of drug development.  Pharmaceutical companies cannot charge merely the price of manufacture of a pill, because of research and development costs that must be recovered.  I also recognize the fact that a drug that lessens side effects or makes it easier to adhere to the regimen is an important advance.     
     "Nevertheless, the large pharmaceutical companies are unusually profitable organizations.  Their success is also highly dependent on the research conducted by my colleagues at universities, which is financed by the Federal government."
     Dr. Sanders then discussed Congressman Buyer's approach to these issues.
     "Congressman Steve Buyer opposed the original Medicare prescription drug benefit saying it was too expensive.  When the Medicare bill was revised so that it was even more expensive, but had more giveaways to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries he supported it.  Included in the bill was a provision that denied the right of the Medicare program of the Federal government to negotiate the price of the products that it purchases.  This is an irresponsible approach to spending taxpayer money.
     "Congressman Buyer has also been trying to terrify seniors.  Although counterfeit prescription drugs are a real danger, there is no evidence that reimportation of American drugs from Canada poses any special threat.  Congressman Buyer was following his oft-used attack method consisting of speaking before thinking, aggressive partisanship, and fear mongering. 
     "Recently Congressman Buyer stated, 'the importation of prescription drugs from other countries is a recipe for disaster and will be dangerous to people's health.'  Is Congressman Buyer unaware of the fact that many prescription drugs, such as Lipitor, are already imported from other countries where they are manufactured?  Is he unaware that American pharmaceutical companies already have the right to reimport American-manufactured prescription drugs?  His spokesperson also said that Congressman Buyer is opposed to any purchase of prescription drugs over the Internet even though the new Medicare prescription drug card program permits it.
     "Why would Congressman Buyer engage in such scare tactics?  The answer is simple.  As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health he is the recipient of an enormous amount of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.  Interestingly, he is also the recipient of the largest amount of campaign contributions from the tobacco industry in the history of Indiana.  The tobacco industry is now being sued by the Bush Administration for racketeering offenses connected with lying to the American consumer about the health hazards of tobacco use.  Tobacco use will kill more than 1000 Hoosiers in the 4th District this year.  How can anyone take Congressman Buyer seriously as a defender of the health of the people of Indiana?
     "When I represent the 4th District in Congress I will not knowingly accept any campaign contributions from any lobbyists, corporate PACs or individuals who have business in front of the committees upon which I serve.  Congressman Buyer is a mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical industry.  The pharmaceutical industry has plenty of effective lobbyists in Washington.  The 4th District should not be represented by yet another pharmaceutical lobbyist such as Congressman Buyer.  The 4th District needs to be represented by someone who will protect the interests of its citizens." 


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