Illinois Expands Its Rx Import Program

July 19, 2005 ( - Illinois has expanded its I-SaveRx program to allow prescription drug imports from Australia and New Zealand.

Illinois added Australia and New Zealand to its reimportation program after a report showed the pharmaceutical systems in the countries are safe and could provide an average savings of 51% for state citizens, according to Business Insurance.

In spite of FDA objections about the safety of prescription drug imports, Illinois became the fifth state to allow imports from Canada and the first to allow imports from European countries (See Illinois Becomes Fifth State to Import Prescription Drugs from Abroad ). The I-SaveRx program was initially launched in 2004 for Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri residents. Despite the expected popularity, residents were initially slow to sign on (See Drug Importation Program Sign-Up Low ). Kansas and Vermont have since joined the program.

“Down Under” OK

According to the report, Australian law does not prevent a physician from rewriting a prescription for a patient that hasn’t been examined. New Zealand law, however, is unclear on the issue, so only medications available over the counter in New Zealand will be available as imports. This includes around 25 to 30 medications available by prescription in the US, including Flonase and Atrovent, Business Insurance said.