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CNN Today

Elderly Head to Mexico for Cheap Meds

Aired June 22, 2000 - 1:37 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: President Clinton says a Republican bill giving prescription drug benefits to the elderly doesn't go far enough. Yesterday, the bill advanced to the house floor. Some older Americans are finding relief from high drug prices south of the border in Tijuana.

Beth Fisher (ph), of our affiliate KVBC in Las Vegas, has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BETH FISHER, KVBC REPORTER (voice-over): The group flew to San Diego, then boarded a bus across the border. Their mission: buy drugs, the same drugs made by American companies sold much cheaper in Mexico.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be roughly $98 for the 60 tablets, where here we actually received 200 tablets for roughly the equivalent of $50. So she's actually saving roughly a little over $300.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Celebrex, for my arthritis, and beta-base (ph) for my heart.

FISHER: Toni Beck (ph) is in Mexico hoping to save hundreds, she did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I only wish I could save money in my own country, more so than here.

FISHER: Bud Malcolm agrees.

BUD MALCOLM: I feel I should be getting this in my country, in my own town, instead of coming clear down to Mexico and to Tijuana to get it.

FISHER: Like Toni, Bud saved hundreds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you do with that extra money?

MALCOLM: Apply it to my next month's medication.

FISHER: For this trip, the group has an American pharmacist along, making sure they're getting the right drugs and the right dosage. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do have a generic here that I don't like, I believe that the one you should get, the worband (ph) you get would be more beneficial to you.

FISHER: About half the prescriptions were never filled, as our pharmacist didn't recommend anything he wasn't familiar with.

But some of the drugs, like this one, are all too familiar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it was actually shipped from Las Vegas on Valley View to the pharmacy that we got it at yesterday.

FISHER: That's right, this drug is made here in Las Vegas, it was shipped to Mexico where it sold for nearly 75 percent less.

ED BERSTEIN (D), NEVADA STATE SENATE CANDIDATE: Now something is wrong, we have American companies making American drugs, using American taxpayer dollars, due to research and development, and shipping them to Mexico, where they're three or four times cheaper in Mexico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: The state senate candidate you just saw there sponsored the trip to Mexico.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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