Friday, August 08, 2003

From Reuters:
AARP Steps Into Drug Re-Importation Debate
The biggest U.S. lobby for seniors sought to rally support on Thursday to legalize the purchase of prescription drugs from Canada, where regulation makes them cheaper.

The 35 million-member AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, hosted a town meeting with lawmakers in Chicago a day after Pfizer Inc. threatened to cut supplies to Canadian pharmacists that ship the world's biggest drug maker's products to U.S. consumers.

"If it's same drug and it saves money, why not?" asked Aaron Crosby, whose wife, Kathleen, age 70, takes 15 different medications including Pfizer's own arthritis drugs Celebrex and anticonvulsant Neurontin. "These drug prices are too cotton-picking high."

The AARP, a lobbying powerhouse, blasted the steep climb in prescription drug prices in the United States. The pharmaceutical industry, which also lobbies heavily in Washington, says it needs to charge higher prices in the United States to recoup research costs for new drugs. Most other nations more tightly regulate the price of drugs.

From the Barre Montpelier (VT) Times Argus:
Sanders rips Pfizer on Canadian cutoff
"They are literally going to war with elderly and chronically ill people in this country who simply cannot afford to pay the high prices Pfizer is charging,” Sanders said. “Clearly there will be a deterioration in health for many, and some will die. What Pfizer is saying is ‘It’s more important for us to make million of dollars.’”

"The objective of us having more customers as direct clients is for us to better enforce our terms of sale, which are that our products are only to be sold in Canada for Canadian patients and that they are not for export," said Don Sancton, a spokesman for Pfizer Canada Inc.

From the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger:
Canadian pharmacies eye lawsuit
A decision on filing a lawsuit hasn't been made, according to an official with the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. He said the group is concerned drug makers are undertaking an industrywide campaign that is unfair and designed to hurt their businesses.

From the Toronto Star:
Pfizer cuts drug supplies to cross-border sellers
This is clearly a reaction to the passage of the legislation," said Jillian Clare Cohen, assistant professor in the University of Toronto's faculty of pharmacy. "What they're trying to say is, `Fine, politically this is palatable, so how can we practically address this issue that cuts into our most profitable market.'"

From WOOD-TV (MI):
Pfizer warns Canadian drug suppliers to buy direct
"We've got people in America who are dying because they can't afford drugs because the drug companies are greedy when it comes to American consumers," says Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Holland. He says companies like Pfizer benefit from government subsidies for research, manufacture their drugs overseas and then hit the same tax payers who helped subsidize those programs with higher prices.

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