POLITICS

Byron Dorgan's Drug Importation Amendment Up For Vote

There could be a showdown over the White House pharmaceutical deal on the Senate floor Monday over Sen. Byron Dorgan's (D-N.D) amendment allowing re-importation of prescription drugs.

The first test will come Monday, when the Senate resumes consideration of an amendment offered by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) to allow cheaper prescription drugs to be imported from Canada and other countries. The idea has broad bipartisan support. But approval of Dorgan's amendment could jeopardize an agreement the White House struck with drug makers this year that has helped to ease health-care industry opposition to the bill.

The White House, aided by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), is working hard to crush the amendment. Last week a lead co-sponsor, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said the measure had enough votes to pass. But some Democrats are reluctant to vote for reimportation because it could jeopardize the health care bill. Earlier this year, the administration struck a deal with PhRMA and the Senate Finance Committee limiting the industry's cost-cutting to $80 billion over ten years.

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