Published May 1, 2004 | May 2004 issue
The state is taking steps to promote purchasing of prescription drugs from Canada. Gov. Jim Doyle, an outspoken opponent of the new Medicare bill, has taken several steps to promote importation.
In late February, Doyle held a large hearing in Washington, D.C., which was attended by lawmakers from all over the country. The purpose was to encourage more states to take some of the steps Wisconsin and some others have begun to take.
The state launched a Web site, drugsavings.wi.gov, that offers assistance to those wishing to import drugs. The site does not sell drugs itself, but it helps citizens order them from Canadian pharmacies. A similar Web site was established earlier by Minnesota.
State officials have performed inspections to make sure Canadian pharmacies and medicine they deal with are "safe and responsible." The site includes a legal disclaimer absolving Wisconsin of liability from drug purchases. Doyle has also gone to great lengths to dispel the idea that purchasing drugs from Canada is unsafe or harmful to the economy.
So far, the Department of Health and Human Services, led by former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, has not tried to intervene with the state's activities or to curtail purchases.