- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2003


Montgomery County employees could buy prescription drugs from Canada under a proposal released yesterday, a move that backers say could save the county millions of dollars.

If the resolution is adopted, Montgomery would be the third municipality in the nation to allow employees to buy prescription drugs from Canada.

“The savings could be in the millions and tens of millions of dollars,” said Montgomery County Council member Tom Perez. “It’s real money however you slice it.”

Mr. Perez planned to introduce a bill today in the council. He wants to implement the program by July 1, if studies show it will provide savings.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned that buying drugs from Canada could be risky because it is difficult to tell whether the drugs were stored and labeled properly or whether the medication is counterfeit.

Mr. Perez said that argument is a “red herring” put forth by a drug industry that is worried about losing money. “This is about protecting profits and monopoly power, it’s not about safety,” he said.

The county provides prescription-drug coverage for about 26,000 active and retired employees and their families. The school system, county government, and the Park and Planning Commission spend about $60 million a year on prescription drugs.

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