A bill that would create a potential pathway for New Mexico to import prescription drugs from Canada is now on its way to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law. The House unanimously approved Senate Bill 1, which calls for the state to create a plan for Canadian drug imports, late Sunday night in a 68-0 vote after the Senate previously passed the measure. The governor expressed support for the proposal in a statement Sunday night. “This measure received unanimous support through every step of the legislative process because getting New Mexicans the medicine they need at a cost they can afford is a bipartisan, common-sense issue,” the governor said. “I applaud the Legislature for making sure New Mexico is at the front of the line for this program, and I promise to sign Senate Bill 1 quickly so we can begin the process of significantly reducing drug costs.”
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich joined with other Senators, including Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, to introduce legislation to allow the importation of some pharmaceuticals from other countries. The senators announced the new legislation Tuesday, and Heinrich said the United States has the safest pharmaceutical system in the world, but also an expensive system. “Details matter and I think this legislation gets the details right,” Heinrich said while announcing his support of the legislation. “I think it preserves the sort of system that has given us the safest pharmaceutical supply in the world while at the same time using a free market, market-based approach to driving down those costs.”
This came more than a month after Heinrich voted against a Sanders-sponsored amendment to a bill that sought to allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from other countries. The amendment, backed by many progressives, failed on a 52-48 vote.
Martin Heinrich was one of 13 Democratic U.S. senators who voted against legislation earlier this week that would have allowed Americans to buy prescription drugs from other countries. The measure, a health care reform idea often supported by progressives, came as an amendment to legislation aimed at changing Senate rules to allow majority votes on budget bills. The procedural changes, which the Senate narrowly approved in the early hours of Thursday, are the first step in Republican plans to repeal as much of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as they can. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent senator who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination last year, sponsored the amendment with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota. Senators rejected the amendment on a 52-48 margin, with 12 Republicans casting their votes in favor.