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FDA delays response to drug suit

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- The federal Food and Drug Administration has postponed its response to Vermont's first-in-the-nation lawsuit seeking to overturn the FDA's ban on the importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

The agency now has until Nov. 30 to respond.

''We believe we need additional time to consider the state's allegations," said Assistant US Attorney Joe Perella, the Burlington-based federal lawyer handling the case.

Governor James Douglas and Attorney General William Sorrell in August filed a complaint in US District Court in Burlington opposing the FDA's denial of a pilot program that would have allowed 20,000 state employees, retirees, and their families to buy prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.

''We look forward to the FDA's response at the end of the month," Jason Gibbs, Douglas's chief spokesman, said Tuesday.

Vermont became the first state to sue the FDA over drug reimportation.

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