Think Tank Calls for End of I-SaveRx

September 22, 2006
Michael Van Winkle

(Chicago, Illinois - September 22, 2006) On Tuesday, September 19, the Illinois Auditor General released an audit of the state's prescription drug reimportation program, known as I-SaveRx. The audit found the plan violated federal law and through April had helped fewer than 3,700 people buy prescription drugs, despite the state having spent nearly $1 million on promoting the program.

The statement below from Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, may be quoted in part or in full. For more information about The Heartland Institute or to arrange an interview with Bast, call Michael Van Winkle at 312/377-4000 or email vanwinkle@heartland.org.


"The Auditor General's report confirms our worst fears about this reckless and illegal scheme. Three years ago we predicted the State of Illinois would do a poor job inspecting foreign pharmacies, and it has. We predicted the program's legal and administrative costs would exceed whatever savings it might bring about, and they have. We predicted few people would use it, and very few are. It's dangerous, it's illegal, it's unnecessary, and it ought to be shut down.

"I-SaveRx was never meant to be a serious health care program. It was a political stunt by a Democrat governor and a Democrat Congressman intended to embarrass the Bush administration before the 2004 presidential election.

"Importing drugs is dangerous. That is why it's been illegal for nearly 20 years. If it wasn't dangerous, why didn't Bill Clinton legalize drug importation during his eight years in office? George W. Bush is reading the same reports Clinton read, and responding to the same danger.

"Opposition to importing drugs used to be bipartisan. It still ought to be. It's alarming, really, to see politics elevated over people's safety. Sometimes, politicians forget that ideas ... and bad laws ... have consequences. Eventually, I-SaveRx is going to kill someone. Will Governor Blagojevich take personal responsibility for that death?

"If Governor Blagojevich doesn't do the right thing and voluntarily shut down I-SaveRx, then the Food and Drug Administration should. What are they waiting for? A body count?"


Joseph L. Bast (jbast@heartland.org) is president of The Heartland Institute, a 22-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank headquartered in Chicago.