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Opinions clash over drug law

"He felt comfortable from a legal standpoint signing the resolution," Duryea said. She said he sought advice from the county's legal counsel before doing so.

She added Breslin also supports the resolution, since it will save retirees and town employee's money in the tough economic climate.

"Hopefully, in the next month it will be up and running and we'll save some money," Morse said. "These are tough economic times. Everybody is trying to figure out ways to save money," he said.

The law allows county employees to buy prescription brand-name drugs through the Canadian drug company CanaRx for what Morse said is 30 to 60 percent less than it was previously paying. He said county employees will have the option to opt into the program but would not be obligated to. He said employees who participate will have no co-pay, and it would affect county employees and retirees who are insured through the county.

As an example, Morse said Albany County spent close to $844,000 on the Nexium, one of the most popular acid reflux disease drugs on the market, and purchasing the medicine through CanaRx could cut that price in half.

In total, Morse estimates savings between $800,000 and $3 million depending on how many employees sign up for the program.

Morse said the biggest opposition to the bill has been pharmaceutical lobbyists who claim that Canadian drugs are held to a lower standard than U.S. drugs, but Morse said these claims have no factual backing.

Morse said he has put close to three years of research into the bill, and has not encountered any cases of Canadian medicine being unsafe.

He noted that the packaging and color might be different, but the drugs are essentially the same. "The bottom line is the ingredients are the ingredients," he said.

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