WASHINGTON - The FDA is quietly fighting pending legislation that would loosen or eliminate restrictions on imports of FDA-approved pharmaceuticals, providing ammunition for biotech and pharmaceutical industry lobbyists who are working overtime to try to sink the re-importation ship.

Overwhelming bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress have passed legislation that would allow U.S. consumers to import FDA-approved drugs from Canada and other countries where governments have imposed price controls. The re-importation legislation has been seen by lawmakers in both parties as a politically painless way to ride the bandwagon of support for allowing Americans to purchase drugs for the low prices offered in Canada and Mexico. In particular, re-importation has given Republicans a facile response to Democratic challengers who promise to cut drug costs for senior citizens through a new Medicare program and who aggressively attack pharmaceutical companies.