Saturday, April 10, 2004

From the Bismarck (ND) Tribune:
Hoeven promotes new prescription drug site
A state Web site to help residents find cheaper medicines in North Dakota and Canada should help pressure the federal Food and Drug Administration to change its stance against reimportation of prescription drugs, Gov. John Hoeven says.

The site directs users to three programs, including a North Dakota preferred drug list and two Canadian Internet pharmacies. It is superior to sites from other states that only have links to Canadian companies, Hoeven said.

"I think it's better that we give them the best options through their local pharmacy first, and only then say, 'OK, here's a couple of (Canadian) pharmacies that we've evaluated,'" Hoeven said Monday.

Blue Cross to cover drug buys made from Canada
Food and Drug Administration officials Tuesday said they would allow Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota to reimburse clients for prescription drugs purchased from Canada and other countries.

Blue Cross will reimburse members for purchases they made April 1 and after for drugs covered under its insurance plans. Some limitations could be put on drugs ordered through the mail and Internet sites, but a decision hasn't been made yet, said Larry Gauper, vice president of communications for Blue Cross.

From the Boston Globe:
Surgeon general wary of drug imports
Counterfeiting operations could complicate the development of a safe and cost-effective program for importing lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other countries, Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona said yesterday.

Carmona said drug makers made compelling arguments during a forum Monday that legalizing importation would make it easier for drug counterfeiters to market unsafe products.

From the Globe and Mail:
Jean Coutu goes where others fear to tread -- the United States
With its blockbuster purchase of more than 1,500 Eckerd drugstores, Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. is aiming to blow up a hoary old Canadian myth -- that our retailers are doomed to fail in the tough U.S. market.

The Montreal-based pharmacy titan is the ideal candidate to bury this belief. It has tested the U.S. market, built a sizable business there, and shows a willingness to go for substantial scale in a $2.4-billion (U.S.) deal.

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