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Opinions clash over drug law

Morse said he regrets that the bill does not call for purchasing local medicine, but noted that the U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not negotiate the price of medicine for its residents.

Morse sponsored another bill in March that would allow a free discount drug card for all county residents, and it is to be enacted soon. The two bills are technically separate, but are designed to go hand-in-hand, Morse said.

"I think the two of them compliment each other," he said.

Morse said he is hopeful that ProAct will be selected as the company providing the free drug card. They already provide a similar program in Schenectady.

He noted the hard work of Lucy McKnight, past president of the New York State Association of Counties.

"Through her hard work, bringing ProAct to the forefront, I'm excited to try to get them do our prescription drug credit," he said.

McDonald, however, raised some opposition to the latest county drug law, citing consumer safety as a concern.

He said that other counties have begun purchasing drugs from Canada, even though it is against the law.

"[The federal governement], doesn't enforce it, and that's a sin," McDonald said. "Why [Albany County] would want to incur this risk and liability is a mystery."

He said while the specific drugs might be FDA approved, such as Nexium and Lipitor, a cholesterol medication, there is no guarantee that the factories producing them are.

McDonald said that while many of the most expensive drugs can be purchased cheaper out of the U.S., using HMO's preferred drugs and generics can save just as much, if not more.

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