When Maine passed a law in June 2013 allowing residents to purchase prescription medication by mail from overseas, it planted its flag in uncharted territory. Mainers have ventured to Canada for years on the hunt for cheaper prescription drugs, but the law officially sanctioned such cross-border shopping. Maine became the first state in the nation to formally defy federal regulations that prohibit Americans from importing drugs through foreign pharmacies, which often sell the same medications for half the cost.
Now, a federal judge has struck down Maine’s law, more than a year after several Maine pharmacy groups filed suit against the state arguing the legislation jeopardizes the safety of the nation’s prescription drug supply and opens the door to counterfeit and tainted medications. The state could still appeal, but supporters of the law argue that without the law, consumers will continue to be held hostage by American pharmacies’ high drug prices.
Other top health stories this week:
More Mainers are signing up for insurance under the health reform law, and for the second year in a row, Maine Community Health Options will insure the majority of the state’s Healthcare.gov shoppers.
Dr. Sheila Pinette is no longer head of the agency, but it appears she will still be responsible for a number of her existing public health-related duties.
State officials struck a nerve last week when they cautioned parents against sleeping in the same bed with their babies after the suffocation deaths of five Maine infants.
From our bloggers
Diane Atwood, Catching Health
If you’ve ever had chickenpox, you’re at risk.
Dr. Jack Forbush, Plain Talk with the Doc
Since when did finding a “compatible” physician or “healthcare provider” become a dating service?
From the source
Hospital watchdog the Leapfrog Group just issued a new report on maternity care, finding U.S. medical centers have plenty of room for improvement. See how Maine performed here.
Compiled by BDN Health Editor Jackie Farwell