In a triumph for the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate on Monday killed a drive to allow consumers to buy prescription drugs from abroad at a significant savings over domestic prices.
On a 49-40 vote, the Senate required the Food and Drug Administration to certify the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs before they can be imported, a requirement that officials have said they cannot meet.
"Well, once again the big drug companies have proved that they are the most powerful and best financed lobby in Washington," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
The vote neutralized a second amendment, later passed on a voice vote, that would legalize the importation of prescription drugs manufactured in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan and New Zealand.
The drug import measure - which was tacked onto legislation for the overhaul of the FDA - could have saved consumers billions of dollars, its sponsors said.