Kansas is joining three other states in a program aimed at helping residents import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and Europe, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday.
The program, started by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in October, works through a Canada-based clearinghouse to connect consumers to more than 60 pharmacies and wholesalers in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The program promises savings of up to 50 percent on about 100 prescription drugs.
"We must make health care and life-sustaining prescription drugs more affordable for seniors and hardworking Kansans," Sebelius said in a statement.
Wisconsin and Missouri also are participating in the I-SaveRx program (search), which is designed for people who don't have prescription drug coverage.
Earlier this month, Sebelius unveiled a separate $50 million health care initiative that included plans to network Kansas pharmacies to supply generic drugs to low-wage working Kansans. At that time, Sebelius said she was studying the Illinois program.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has opposed the reimporting of prescription drugs, arguing it can't guarantee the safety of medication sold by foreign pharmacies. However, the FDA has not tried to shut down the Illinois operation.
Blagojevich and Sebelius said the Illinois prescription drug plan provides adequate safety measures and is approved by Illinois health inspectors.