Utah is paying public employees to travel to Mexico to fill their prescription medications in a program aimed at reducing the high cost of prescription drugs.
State officials say about 10 people have participated in the program, saving Utah about $225,000 in the year since it’s been created.
Now they’re expanding to Canada.
Ann Lovell is one of those 10 Utah workers taking part in the program. She told the Associated Press that before last year, she had never owned a passport. But now she travels to Tijuana, Mexico, every few months to buy medication for her rheumatoid arthritis, with tickets paid for by the state of Utah’s public insurer.
If she had not started getting her medicine in Mexico, it would have cost her around $2,400 every few months.
Instead, Lovell now flies from Salt Lake City to San Diego, then an escort takes her across the border to a Tijuana hospital, where she gets her prescription refilled. Then, it’s back across the border and she flies home all in one day.
It’s one of several ways states are experimenting to cut the high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. California is considering launching its own generic-drug label.
Louisiana negotiated a flat fee for certain drugs. Other states are looking into importing drugs from other nations.