Full speed ahead with Canadian medicine

We sure wish Nevadans were able to buy drugs through a state-operated Web site from Canadian pharmacies.

Unfortunately, wishing won't make it so.

Attorney General George Chanos had little choice but to conclude the law passed by the Legislature earlier this year is flawed. It plainly says medicines imported from Canada are to be Federal Drug Administration-approved, even if that's not what lawmakers intended.

Yes, we all know what they meant to say - not necessarily FDA-approved, but the same kind of pharmaceuticals as the FDA has approved for sale by American pharmacies.

However, Chanos can't - and shouldn't - be put in the position of reading minds or between the lines. It's a bad habit for a state's attorney general, and one that inevitably leads to legal opinions shaped more by politics than principle.

His ruling, though nonbinding, puts the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy in a sticky situation. It could go ahead with the Legislature's plan - and open itself to certain litigation from pharmaceutical companies.

Or it can hold off for two more years until the 2007 Legislature fixes the language - and postpone the savings that senior citizens were expecting under the imported-drug program.

We know which we'd choose: Damn the pharmaceutical companies and full speed ahead. The issue was thoroughly debated by legislators, who came up with a beneficial and workable way to get around the stranglehold that Washington politics has placed on free-market sales of safe medicines.

As taxpayers, we know we would help foot the bill for what could be a long and expensive legal battle, which the State Board of Pharmacy probably would lose.

Looking past the politics, though, we'd arrive at the same conclusion as Nevada's legislators. The drugs will be safe. Costs will be lower. Nevada residents will be served.

Put the onus on the drug companies to prove them wrong.


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