Coverage: Importing bulk drugs to U.S. bad medicine, Congress told
Importing bulk drugs to U.S. bad medicine, Congress told
March 8, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Legalizing bulk imports of Canadian prescription drugs will deplete supplies, raise prices and strain relations, pharmacists and a patients' group told the U.S. Congress yesterday.
The Canadian groups submitted a brief to a U.S. Senate subcommittee that held a hearing on two bills that would allow cheaper drugs from north of the border.
"Allowing Canadian price-controlled drugs to be imported in bulk into the United States
will have serious consequences for Canadians and will be of very little long-term benefit to Americans," said the submission.
"If adopted, it is clear that this proposed legislation will strain Canada-U.S. relations."
It was signed by the Canadian Pharmacists Association, Ontario Pharmacists Association and Best Medicines Coalition, a patients' advocacy group.
"Our government should act now to take pre-emptive steps that will protect Canadians today," said Louise Binder, chairwoman of the coalition.
"Acting after the fact threatens patient access to medications and will result in compromised patient health outcomes."
Others don't see a big need for Ottawa to rush and ban bulk exports, saying there's a limit to the U.S. appetite for Canadian medicines.
Also, many of the drugs distributed by Canadian mail order companies actually come from some 30 foreign countries.
The U.S. legislation, introduced in January, is the latest bid in a long-running crusade to lower costs for Americans paying the highest prices for medicines in the world.
Pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. administration oppose the move, expected to have more traction now in a Democrat-controlled Congress.