Friday, December 12, 2003

From Yahoo News:
U.S. May Overwhelm Canadian Pharmacies
As CEO of, one of the popular new enterprises selling low-price prescription drugs from Canada to U.S. customers, Mike Hicks is used to watching business grow fast.

But even he is unsure how he would respond if the city of Boston, which this week announced a plan to buy drugs from Canada, asked his firm to handle prescriptions for a pilot program open to roughly 7,000 of its current and retired employees?

From White Plains (NY) Journal News:
Westchester to offer medicine discount
Westchester County plans to offer a discount prescription drug service, starting in January, aimed at residents who don't have health insurance, a program that would offer pharmaceuticals from Canada as an option.

The service could make Westchester County only the second government in the country buying prescription drugs from Canada, a growing practice that the federal Food and Drug Administration says is illegal. Springfield, Mass., is the only place now doing so, according the FDA.

Health Canada to review use of psychiatric drugs on kids
Health Canada is reviewing whether a class of drugs - known as SSRIs - is safe for the treatment of depression in children and adolescents. The review is looking at data on many of the top-selling psychiatric drugs, including Paxil, Prozac and Celexa. None of the drugs is licensed for use in children, but doctors often do still prescribe them.

Word of the review follows two Health Canada warnings. In July, the agency cautioned that children and teens taking Paxil could be at a higher risk for suicidal thoughts. In September, it issued a similar warning about Effexor.

From the Birmingham (Alabama) News:
Alabama hears sales pitch, but hasn't purchased Canadian drugs
Two Medicaid officials from Alabama heard a sales pitch for cheap prescription drugs from Canada, but made no purchases at a meeting in Atlanta, a state agency spokesman said Friday.

Recent Medicare legislation included a ban on the reimportation of Canadian drugs unless it's first approved by federal regulators.

The two Alabama officials attended a sales meeting with five Canadian drug company representatives at an Atlanta hotel on Thursday, but had not returned to their offices Friday for comment, agency spokesman Mike Lewis said.

From the Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune:
Canadian drug issue forces state to choose between budget, economic development
During a speech to business leaders this week, Mayor Tom Menino heralded the importance of luring science and biotech companies to his city - the same kind of companies that are adamantly opposed to the Canadian drug reimportation plan that he embraced two days earlier.

The mayor's announcement that Boston would join Springfield, Cambridge and now the state of New Hampshire in encouraging its employees to purchase drugs from across the border has heightened the political discourse in Massachusetts about how to limit the high cost of drugs without alienating an industry considered essential to its economic recovery.

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