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Getting medicines for less

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Governor Brad Henry wants legislators to pass a drug re-importation bill this session which would allow people to buy prescription drugs for much less money. But why wait for the law?

News on 6 anchor Tami Marler says Governor Henry's plan would allow Oklahomans to purchase FDA approved drugs that have been shipped to foreign countries and back. Even with all that shipping and handling, consumers would still see major savings.

Pharmacists have said Governor Henry's plan to allow Oklahomans to purchase drugs from other countries only addresses the tip of the iceberg, which the real problem lies with the prices drug companies are allowed to charge in the US. Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

Manufacturers and lawmakers say we're paying for lifesaving research and development, but much of a drug's cost goes toward marketing.

"I think a whole lot of the cost of drugs is advertising." Tulsan Peter Enns decided to do something about the rising cost of prescription drugs and started researching foreign pharmacists. "Ran across a website that offered, made some phone calls, discovered that the pharmacist was a doctor who was trained in the US. So I put together a website, simply giving people the information that they need to place the order. I just make sure that they get the product and that they're not ripped off financially."

Enns estimates he's helped about 500 people, strictly through word-of-mouth, to find deep discounts. "It's seldom less than 50% and sometimes 80%, skeptical at first, prices were so good." Enns is one of a number of entrepreneurs who've made it their mission to help others find affordable medications.

Tulsa-based Rx Depot made national news when the feds shut it down in 2003. In a federal trial, FDA officials testified the practice of importing drugs was unsafe and unproven. Enns says that's why he did so much research and his own family uses imported medications.

Enns says in three years, he's never had a complaint about a drug's potency or effectiveness, although there have been some shipping delays. His web site is www.medicineforless.com.
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