Tuesday, August 19, 2003

From WRAL-TV (NC):
N.C. Pharmacy Board Trying To Clamp Down On Drug Importers
North Carolina is trying to clamp down on a handful of outlets in the state trying to sell prescription drugs imported from Canada at prices markedly lower than U.S. drugstores.

The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy in June ordered five stores, including Canada Drug Outlet in Concord, to stop doing business, saying they are illegal under federal and state law.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
EDITORIAL: Reimporting drugs
The whole current scheme is absurd. Yes, manufacturers should be free to charge any price they want for their goods, anywhere. But the way the free market protects us from price gouging is by allowing us to order our pills from Toronto, or Sweden, or anywhere we please. Why should our own government be colluding to drive up drug prices for our own sick and injured?

"No American should ever enjoy less freedom by virtue of living in the U.S., and no American should be forced to pay higher prices for drugs that are available more cheaply overseas," Dr. Paul concludes. "The ban on reimportation is unconscionable."

From the Troy (NY) Record:
Prescription prices must be brought into line (Editorial)
Drug companies say cutting prices here or allowing the mass importation of drugs from Canada would discourage research into new drugs, given the loss in revenue.

We find that an empty argument. If a profit of any kind is still to be made, new drugs will be developed.
The other big argument from the industry is that the imported drugs could be "unsafe."

Unsafe? The drugs are made in the US and are the same as those sold here in every way. So what, are drug companies saying they make two versions of the same drug, a "safe" concoction for Americans and an "unsafe" formula for Canadians?

From the Austin (TX) American-Statesman:
Rise up, America: Fight for fair drug prices (Editorial)
Governments in other countries contract to buy pharmaceuticals at a lower price, while in the United States, the companies get the highest market price they can. And they don't want Americans buying the cheaper drugs they sell offshore.

It is an indefensible policy, so the pharmaceutical companies have had to argue that the safety of drugs from other countries can't be guaranteed. That won't fly. In many cases, it is the same drug from the same manufacturer, so safety isn't an issue. And Canada is hardly Burkina Fasso.

From the Port Clinton (OH) News Herald:
Something must be done about prescription costs (Editorial)
According to reports, more than a dozen stores in Ohio serve as liaisons between customers and Canadian pharmacies, helping Ohioans to buy lower priced drugs from across the border.

Several Northwest Ohio communities, including Fremont, have considered becoming involved in a mail order network to help people purchase drugs at a cheaper rate, but backed off because of fears that such purchases were illegal. Others have joined the network. This recent report must be leaving officials wondering just what's right.

From the (Toronto) Globe and Mail:
Physicians' body puts heat on Net pharmacies
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba wants the province to bring in legislation to find and discipline doctors who sign prescriptions without seeing patients.

From CBC News:
Asthma drugs to carry new warning
Two asthma drugs, Serevent and Advair, will be carrying new warnings about a risk of life-threatening asthma episodes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the benefits of treating patients with Serevent or Advair continue to outweigh the risks, when used according to instructions.

From the Raleigh (NC) Triangle Business Journal:
Bayer drug given the go-ahead in Canada
Gamunex received approval to be used in Canada for the treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, primary immune deficiencies, allogeneic bone marrow transplantation and pediatric HIV infection. idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a condition in which the blood doesn't have enough platelets, which results in slow clotting and excessive brusing.

From GoErie.com (PA):
Ask doctor, not clerk for advice on herbals
"Patients should be talking about their use of natural products with their physicians" and not relying on advice they get in stores, said study author Edward Mills, director of research at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

Researchers from the college visited 34 health food stores in an unnamed Canadian city, posing as customers shopping for a mother with breast cancer. Employees in 27 of the stores recommended an array of purportedly helpful products.

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