Tuesday, September 16, 2003

From the Boston Globe:
FDA drug scrutiny rapped as uneven
Last month, the agency conducted an unusual sting operation targeting the City of Springfield, which is importing lower-priced drugs from Canada for city workers to reduce the spiraling cost of drugs bought in the United States. In an elaborate undercover operation, the FDA received at room temperature a single order of insulin that should have been chilled. The agency publicized the sting nationally to illustrate what it described as the dangers of ordering drugs by Internet from Canada.

But the FDA takes a hands-off approach to enforcing the much greater volume of prescription shipments from US Internet mail-order pharmacies, where increasing numbers of Americans get their drugs. In fact, FDA officials said they can't recall ever conducting a domestic sting operation targeting the quality of insulin or other drug shipments.

From the Portland (ME) Press Herald:
Penobscots, seniors outline plan to import drugs from Canada
The Penobscot Indian Nation and Maine Council of Senior Citizens want to set up a system to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and sell them to pharmacies in Maine.

Under a plan announced Monday, the tribe would buy supplies from a wholesaler in Canada - where drug costs are much lower because of government price controls and a favorable exchange rate - and then distribute them from a warehouse on Indian Island, the Penobscot Indian reservation.

Illinois may buy Canadian drugs
Facing budget-breaking increases in prescription drug bills, the governor of Illinois took the first step yesterday toward purchasing lower-cost medications from Canada, a move that puts him in direct conflict with federal regulators and signals a dramatic escalation in the civil war over U.S. drug prices.

From the Toronto Star:
Illinois wants Canadian drugs
President George W. Bush is facing open and growing defiance over the cost of prescription drugs in this country after the state of Illinois said it was poised to begin buying cheaper medicines from Canada.

The state, the fifth-most populous in the country, would be the largest market to join the buy-Canada groundswell, setting up an epic battle between cash-strapped state and local jurisdictions and a White House which seems determined to protect the profits of U.S. drug makers.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Feds raid suburban drug repackager
A day after Gov. Blagojevich took the first step toward buying inexpensive medications in Canada for more than 200,000 state workers and retirees, federal agents on Monday raided a south suburban business that has been importing drugs and repackaging them for sale in the United States.
(Editor's Note: The concept of repackaging medications in any form is not done in Canada. A pharmacy ordering drugs from the wholesaler receives it in manufacturer-sealed containers.)

From the Denver Post:
FDA set to seize medical imports
Most pharmacists are likely unaware they've purchased foreign product, he said. "This company has been defrauding pharmacies around the country by misrepresenting the product."

Patients who are taking Lipitor, Coumadin or Celebrex should ask their pharmacist where the drugs were purchased. Any reputable pharmacy ought to allow customers to return drugs from Alliance Wholesale or Local Repack, he said.
(Editor's note: Counterfeit repackaged items may be sitting in local American retail pharmacies accross the country. The customers and pharmacists may not even be aware of it. To my knowledge, there has never been a documented case like this in Canada.)

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