Wednesday, September 29, 2004

From (Calif.):
SF Mayor Fights For Cheaper Prescription Drugs
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom took a bold step in the fight for cheaper prescription drugs this week.

He said the city might use its Web site to show people how to save up to 40 percent by buying prescription drugs from Canada.
From the Boston Globe:
FDA warns on drugs from Canada
The US government said yesterday that intercepted drugs purportedly sent from Canada, made and shipped elsewhere, had been subject to Canadian recall and had cheaper generic counterparts in the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration said the 439 packages of prescription drugs were ordered by Americans from the website

Customs agents in Miami intercepted the drugs that they said had been shipped from CanadaRx's office in the Bahamas.
From Health Canada:
Important safety information for patients taking LAMICTAL (lamotrigine)
Dear Healthcare Professional,

GlaxoSmithKline Inc. (GSK), following discussions with Health Canada, would like to inform you of important new safety information concerning the antiepileptic, LAMICTAL® (lamotrigine)....

From (Mich.):
Seniors demand access to lower-cost drugs
Just in case the U.S. Senate, which is mulling a vote on legalizing drug imports, didn't get the message yet, hundreds of Michigan seniors rallied at the state's bridges to Canada, demanding access to cheaper drugs.

Monday's rallies at Detroit, Port Huron and Sault Ste. Marie are designed to pressure Congress to legalize an activity that the federal government has been loath to prosecute as public outrage over drug prices mounts: busloads of seniors getting their prescriptions filled in Canada, where prices are lower. The rallies were organized by Michigan AARP, the state's largest senior citizens group.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Drug Import Idea Risky, Exec Says
The chief executive of Orange County's largest biomedical company wants Supervisor Chuck Smith to reconsider his effort to allow county employees to buy discounted prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.

David Pyott, president and chief executive of Allergan, told the supervisor in a letter received last week that importing drugs from Canada was dangerous and a threat to the state and local economy.
From The Heartland Institute :
Illinois Governor Defies FDA Rule on Drug Importation
Illinois plans to become the first state to directly help residents buy prescription drugs from Europe. The state plans to launch a Web site for residents to buy name-brand drugs from Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) announced plans to create the Web site and a network of overseas pharmacies to fill orders on August 17. He made his announcement with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois), a former Clinton administration advisor whose congressional district includes part of Blagojevich's former congressional district.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

From the Canadian Press:
Tribunal dismisses pharmacies' complaints about Internet crackdown
Canada's competition court has refused to hear a complaint by some Ontario pharmacies who say they're being unfairly targeted by drug companies trying to crack down on the cross-border trade.

The federal Competition Tribunal said the four retail pharmacies failed to make the case that their businesses have been hurt financially by blacklists that have kept them from stocking popular prescription drugs.
From the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader:
State auditor urges hearings on buying Canadian drugs
The Kentucky General Assembly should hold public hearings to gather expert testimony about purchasing prescription drugs from Canada, state Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen urged Tuesday morning.

Luallen’s office issued a study that indicates that the state could save $107 million a year if all prescription drugs for state employees and Medicaid recipients were bought from Canada.

“It’s time we think outside the box,” Luallen said. “We must go after all the savings that we can.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

From the Canadian Press:
Internet pharmacy founder says streamlining is sign of the times for industry
Tough times in the Internet pharmacy industry have prompted one of its biggest players to streamline Canadian operations by moving about 30 high-paying jobs to Calgary from Winnipeg.

Daren Jorgenson says he's confident the move will help in the short term, but he's less certain the industry he helped create can survive crippling supply restrictions by big pharmaceutical companies opposed to the online business.
From In Forum (ND):
Winnipeg trip saves on drugs
Betty Olson boarded the RX Express in Fargo Monday with high hopes.

The bus, sponsored by the Minnesota Senior Federation, was bound for Winnipeg, where Olson expected to save money by buying cheaper Canadian prescription drugs.

Olson, who takes medication to treat her blood pressure, thyroid and bone density, wasn't certain how much she'll save in Canada.
From CBC Ottawa:
Doc takes college to court over pharmacy deals
A Montreal doctor is taking the Quebec College of Physicians to court for allowing doctors to take money and reduced rent to set up office by pharmacies.

"That goes against the spirit of our code of ethics," Dr. Daniel Poulin said Monday.

Poulin decided to blow the whistle on the deals after representatives of the Jean Coutu pharmacy offered him $500,000 and cut-rate rent to move his practice into a new pharmacy.
From the Globe and Mail:
Internet hurting pharmacists
Rapid expansion of both Internet and traditional pharmacies has exacerbated the shortage of pharmacists in Manitoba, a new survey says.

Moreover, pharmacists' wages have gone through the roof. The Manitoba Society of Pharmacists polled its members and found their average wage rose from $31.67 per hour in 2001 to $43.69 per hour in 2003, a 38 per cent increase.

Monday, September 20, 2004

From the Washington Post:
Montgomery to Distribute Prescription Drug Discount Cards
Montgomery County plans to distribute drug cards to all residents that can be used for steep discounts on most prescriptions, County Executive Douglas M. Duncan announced yesterday.

The county will be the first in the region to pool the buying power of its residents to give them an average 20 percent discount at 130 participating local pharmacies.

Although they will be distributed to all residents, officials expect that the cards will be used mainly by the 80,000 county residents who don't have insurance coverage for prescriptions.

From the Concord (NH) Monitor:
Benson unveils Web site
Gov. Craig Benson announced a new, state-run Internet tool that allows residents to comparison shop for prescription drugs.

The Web page, which can be accessed through the state Web site, contains phonebook-like listings of pharmacies across New Hampshire and prices for hundreds of medications. Consumers can also check out the cost of their prescriptions at state-approved Canadian pharmacies.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

From WTOP (MD):
Montgomery County Looks North for Prescription Drugs
An electrician with the Montgomery County public schools, Jonathan Bishop is mostly satisfied with the prescription drug coverage he gets through the county.

Even so, co-payments and extra costs for particular drugs mean Bishop, 53, and his wife spend about $3,000 each year for about 20 prescription drugs. The 32-year veteran of the school system worries how he will pay for his pills for diabetes, arthritis and other medical conditions when he retires.
From New York Newsday:
Prescription trips
Early one recent Wednesday, Werner and Marlies Kress steered their 1998 Buick Le Sabre into one of the many strip malls on Hempstead Turnpike and parked in front of a small storefront, Discount Drugs From Canada. In an envelope, they carried prescriptions for Werner's blood thinner, Plavix, and Marlies' osteoporosis drug, Actonel.

Inside the austere Levittown office, there's no aspirin for sale, or beauty supplies, or shampoo. There aren't even any drugs.

Like many elderly people without coverage for brand-name medication, the Kresses, both retirees on fixed incomes, save a bundle by ordering their drugs from Canada. And David Feinsod, who sits behind a computer terminal, is their portal to a growing $1 billion mail-order drug industry that has sparked controversy around the world.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

From the (Nashville) Tennessean:
Frist doubts Congress will deal with imported drugs
With more cities, counties and states flouting the law to help their residents buy drugs from cheaper Canadian pharmacies, pressure has been building on Congress to make it legal.

Yet, Congress is scheduled to adjourn in less than a month, and congressional leaders say it's not going to happen.

''I don't think we can address it adequately in the next 17 days,'' Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Tuesday.
From the Bangor (Maine) Daily News:
Health care symposium addresses Canadian drugs
Solving the prescription drug crisis facing older and uninsured residents of Maine is not as simple as looking to Canada for relief, a group of analysts said at a health care symposium.

But in states like Maine, where a graying population and proximity to Canada make it enticing to cross the border for cheaper drugs, reimporting Canadian drugs has become a hot issue in the presidential election.

Federal officials said bypassing the U.S. system puts people at risk of receiving improper dosages or possibly the wrong drugs altogether.
From USA Today:
Drugs from Canada seized
Hundreds of people in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Vermont had their Canadian prescription-drug orders seized and thousands more had their shipments delayed after about 450 packages arriving in Miami from the Bahamas were seized by U.S. Customs in July.

The seizure was the first large-scale effort by U.S. Customs and the Food and Drug Administration to halt prescription shipments from Canadian pharmacies, although individual packages have been halted in the past.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Oak Creek mayor vetoes Canadian drug proposal
Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender on Wednesday vetoed a Canadian prescription drug plan approved by aldermen last week, saying that if the Common Council overrides his decision, it is choosing to break the law.

"I believe it is improper to support breaking the law because there is disagreement with the law," Bolender wrote in his veto. The six-member council would need four votes to override the veto on Tuesday.

The mayor noted, along with his concerns over the legality of the plan, that there has been no formal legal assessment of the city's liability exposure.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

From the Washington Times:
Pfizer exec supports drug importation
A top executive at Pfizer has disagreed publicly with his employer in supporting a Maryland county's bid to import Canadian drugs, a report said Tuesday.

Peter Rost, vice president of marketing for the pharmaceutical giant, said he supports a proposal before the Montgomery County Council to let county employees buy cheaper Canadian prescription drugs, the Washington Post reported.

"This has been proven to be safe in Europe," said Rost, who cautioned he was not speaking on behalf of Pfizer. "The real concern about safety is about people who do not take drugs because they cannot afford it. The safety issue is a made-up story."
From Medical News Today (UK):
Pfizer Official Expresses Support for Prescription Drug Reimportation
Peter Rost, vice president of marketing for endocrine care at Pfizer, on Friday advocated the reimportation of lower-cost prescription drugs from abroad, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Rost, who spoke as a private citizen and not as a Pfizer official, said that higher-income nations in Europe often reimport prescription drugs from nations such as Italy, Greece and Spain, where there are lower prices.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Ordering Drugs From Canada Is Unsafe, Bush Says
President Bush on Monday repeated his opposition to allowing seniors to buy U.S.-made prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies as a way to save money, calling it unsafe for consumers.

"It's an interesting idea, but remember, my job is to protect you as best I can," Bush told about 500 supporters at a campaign event designed to contrast his views on healthcare with that of his Democratic challenger, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts. "What we don't want to do is have a system where it sounds like a pharmaceutical may be coming in from Canada, but, in fact, it is manufactured in another country."
From CBS News:
The Issues: Rx Drug Imports
Jim Morrison, an accountant in his fifties, a conservative family man, is a very unlikely kind of outlaw – but just ask him about his prescription drugs

"I take Pravachol for my cholesterol, and this is glucophage," he says.

He admits he imports his drugs from Canada, and he doesn't care if it's against the law.
From the Fort Wayne (IN) News Sentinel:
Carter starts a prescription drug Web site
Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter has launched a Web page that brings together a variety of resources on prescription drug costs and programs available to defray those expenses.

Carter also announced Thursday that he plans to initiate a review of the legal issues involved in reimporting cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Gov. Joe Kernan said last week he would support a state plan to reimport prescription drugs if no other measures are implemented to keep the skyrocketing costs in check. The proposal was part of the Democrat incumbent’s new campaign plan, “Action Indiana.”

Kernan’s Republican opponent, Mitch Daniels, a former senior vice president
From the Seattle Times:
Oregon Democrats seek OK for Canada drug plan
Five Democratic lawmakers sent a letter yesterday asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to approve Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski's plan to give state residents access to cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

"Oregonians desperately need relief from the debilitating costs of pharmaceutical drugs," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., one of the lawmakers who signed the letter.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
State questions FDA drug seizures
Wisconsin's two U.S. senators and Gov. Jim Doyle want to know why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been intercepting prescription medications ordered by Wisconsin residents from Canadian mail order pharmacies.

In a letter to the FDA, Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, both Democrats, said they had received "dozens of complaints from Wisconsin residents" that the FDA had intercepted their orders of prescription drugs.

The senators said they were "concerned that the FDA's actions could pose health risks to American consumers."

Monday, September 13, 2004

From the (Vancouver, Wash.) Columbian:
Cheaper Drugs are Lure
Across from Wal-Mart on Highway 99 sits a tiny store offering prices that even the retail giant can't touch.

A big yellow sign outside a tiny building near Northeast 88th Street reads Canada Drug Supply, and owner Jason Allen says he can help patients get prescription drugs at half the American price from a Canadian pharmacy.

Allen maintains his business is legal and safe, but officials from the federal Food and Drug Administration disagree.
From the Los Angeles Times:
O.C. Eyes Canadian Drugs
Orange County officials say they could save more than $2 million annually by allowing county workers to buy prescription medication from Canadian pharmacies and are pushing to become the first county in California to give workers such an option.

Last month, the county sent a Health Care Agency executive to Canada to study pharmacies that export drugs to the United States, a practice that provides considerable savings to U.S. consumers but is banned by the federal government. County officials also have been in talks with a Texas company that could help Orange County employees buy discounted drugs from Canadian pharmacists.
From the Washington Post:
A Window on the Controversy Over Importing Drugs

As Montgomery County prepares to join a growing number of state and local governments endorsing the purchase of lower-cost medicines from Canada, opponents are clearly distressed.

The Maryland Pharmacists Association on Thursday brought a member of former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's consulting firm and the head of a Florida AIDS advocacy group to a Rockville hotel banquet room to warn the council off the move.

"It's amazing to me that people are willing to take risks with their health and that the County Council is willing to take risks with its citizens' health," said Cynthia Boyle, president of the Maryland Pharmacists Association, referring to the millions of Americans who purchase medicines from Canada.
From the National Post:
Pharmacare makes it on meeting agenda
Alberta Premier Ralph Klein called it a stroke of brilliance and his provincial counterparts thought it a great idea -- a national pharmacare program something like the country's medicare program.

The premiers and territorial leaders have managed to get discussion of a pharmacare program on the agenda for their three-day meeting starting Monday in Ottawa, but recent comments from Prime Minister Paul Martin and his health minister suggest it's as doomed now as when it was discussed the last time -- and the time before that.
From WJLA-TV (MD):
Canadian Drug Push Returning to Forefront in Montgomery
The push to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada returns to the front burner next week.

The Montgomery County Council has been looking at whether it can go north of the border to save money on medications for county workers and retirees. On Monday, some members plan to trot out a man who's been there, done that.

A former mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, will tell how his city manages to buy drugs from Canada without any problems.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

From the Washington Times:
U.S. to be 'gateway' to Canadian drugs
John Kerry promised yesterday that, if elected president, he would reduce the cost of prescription medicine by allowing Americans to purchase cheaper drugs imported from countries such as Canada.

"I just came from Minnesota the other day — that's the gateway to Canadian drugs," Mr. Kerry said. "And when I'm president, we're going to make all of America the gateway to the same drugs."
From Capital News 9 (NY):
Berkshire County man wants to help senior citizens
Kurt Bricault tried to open a business as an Information Service Provider to allow those without internet access, specifically senior citizens, to link up with a Canadian pharmacy to purchase discount prescription drugs.

His application to the North Adams Planning Board met with some resistance and he abandoned the plan. Now, he has some new found support from Dawn Taylor Thompson, a state Senate candidate who is willing to help him move forward with his plans in Pittsfield.

Friday, September 10, 2004

From the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal:
Cutting drug costs debated
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Mongiardo called yesterday for federal legislation to allow Americans greater access to generic drugs and less-expensive medicine from foreign markets, such as Canada.

A spokesman for Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, who Mongiardo is challenging, said the new Medicare drug law that passed in December with Bunning's support will accelerate approval of generic drugs for the marketplace and ensures that the safety of drugs imported from Canada is certified by the U.S. government.
From the Boston Globe:
Mayor OK's buying drugs from Canada
Mayor David B. Cohen has announced his support for a plan to import prescription drugs from Canada.

The mayor estimated that the city would save $100,000 the first year and $300,000 the second. For the program to move forward, the city must gain approval from unions, which appears likely because it would be voluntary; several union representatives already have expressed their support.

Cohen said he did not know when the new program would go into effect. ''We want to implement it sooner rather than later."
From the Las Vegas Sun:
More Nevada residents cut costs by importing drugs
Las Vegas resident Estelle Coronel estimates that she has saved thousands of dollars on prescription drug costs by ordering her medications on the Internet from foreign pharmacies.

She relies on four different Web sites, three of which are based in Canada, to purchase the four medications she takes and the nine medications her husband takes.

"People are going to have to make a decision on, 'Do I take my medicine, or do I eat?' " Coronel said. "It just blows me away. Why can the Canadian people get the drugs cheaper than we can from the same company?"
Canadian Rx sales in flux
Storefronts selling bargain medicines from Canada were opened to save people the trip across the border. But locally they are closing under pressure from regulators and slow business.

The budding chain of stores, Meds-4-Less, closed a Burton location in June, while a Meds-4-Less in Lapeer closed this spring. An expansion of the American Drug Club into the Flint market never materialized.

"We had customers, but it just wasn't enough to keep us going," said Michelle Lenarcic of Davison, a franchisee who ran the Burton Meds-4-Less. "There's not a need for us because we're so close to Canada."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

From the Cape Cod (Mass.) Times:
Cape towns weigh Canadian Rx
A joint Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard health group may be the first multi-municipality organization in the state to foray into the Canadian prescription drug market.

It's a move proponents say would save money for thousands of people covered under its members' health plans, as well as for taxpayers.

The steering committee of the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group, which comprises 51 towns, school departments, transit authorities and water and fire districts in Barnstable and Dukes counties, will interview Canadian firms over the next few months to see if the idea is feasible, said Falmouth Town Administrator Robert Whritenour, chairman of the municipal health consortium.
From the Appleton (Wisc.) Post-Crescent:
Suburb OKs buying Canadian drugs
The Common Council adopted a program Tuesday to allow city government employees and retirees and other residents of this Milwaukee suburb to buy prescription drugs from Canada.

Although the state of Wisconsin operates a Web site to help people get the cheaper Canadian drugs, backers said the program is the first to be enacted by a local community in the state.

After two hours of debate, the council voted 4-2 for the voluntary plan aimed at saving money for the city and others through purchases of the less expensive drugs from Canada.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Editor's note: There have been some technical problems with the site. As a result, some posts from days ago are only appearing now.
From Medical News Today (UK):
What it is like to be a community pharmacist in other countries?
Ever wondered what it is like to be a community pharmacist in Portugal, Peru or Pakistan? PSNC has teamed up with the Community Pharmacy Section of the International Pharmaceutical Federation to help you find out through a new online initiative: Global WEBlogs

Building on the success of the PSNC Community Pharmacy WEBlogs project which finished in July, the Global site was launched today at the 2004 FIP World Pharmacy Congress in New Orleans.
From the Telegraph (UK):
Pfizer admits limiting drugs supplies to UK
Pfizer, the US drug giant, has told UK wholesalers that it will only supply enough prescription medicines to meet domestic demand in what is believed to be an attempt to stop the reimport of drugs into the United States.

A number of drug companies, including Pfizer, have put similar caps on supply in Canada, where drugs are cheaper than in the US and there is a growing business in Canadian drugs being sold to US residents. However, it is believed to be the first to cap supplies in Britain.
From the Redding (Calif.) Record Searchlight:
Click here for cheaper drugs
Consumers could find cheaper prescription drugs from Canada by logging on to a state-sponsored Web site under a bill on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk.

The California Department of Health Services would be required to establish the site, enabling the state to join Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Maine in offering such a service.
From USA Today:
Drug search spreads beyond Canada
Drugmakers' efforts to limit supplies to Canadian pharmacies that sell to U.S. residents have led some of them to seek drugs from Europe and elsewhere around the world.

Some Canadian pharmacies are already asking customers if they are willing to accept drugs from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Israel or Chile. And some are looking at additional countries.

Monday, September 06, 2004

From the Raleigh (NC) News Observer:
Ads campaign against buying drugs
GlaxoSmithKline is intensifying its campaign against consumers ordering prescription drugs from Canada.

The British drug company began running newspaper ads this week that question the quality and safety of medications obtained from Canadian Web sites.
From CBC Montreal:
Pharmacist punished for selling drugs to Americans
The Quebec Order of Pharmacists has punished a Montreal pharmacist for selling prescription drugs to Americans through an internet site.

André Elkaim has been stricken from the order's register for one year. The decision was made July 8.
From the Waterloo (Ont.) Imprint:
Creation of a new UW School of Pharmacy announced
The University of Waterloo's campus is ever expanding. There are new architecture facilities in Cambridge and on August 11, UW administratio,n along with local and provincial government representatives, announced a new campus in downtown Kitchener for health sciences. This project will be anchored by a school of pharmacy and include a family medicine teaching centre that will combine clinical care with teaching and research in family medicine.

This is the second school of pharmacy in Ontario. The first is in the University of Toronto. UW plans to collaborate research with the pharmacyschool at UofT, as well as adapting UofT's existing curriculum. Like many other programs atUW, there will be regular and co-op programs, as well as courses offered by distance education.
From Reuters:
Drug Recycling Offers Alternative to Imports
When Joana Ramos' father-in-law died recently, family members in Georgia sent her his left-over Parkinson's drugs rather than throw them out, in hopes they would help someone who couldn't afford them.

"I was able to find a home for them here," said Ramos, a social worker with cancer patients in Seattle, Washington.

Patients like Ramos' clients, who are struggling to afford their prescription medicines, are finding a source besides cheaper Canadian imports -- other patients.
From the Knoxville (KY) Courier Journal:
Kernan may back Canadian drug sales
Speaking to Clarksville senior citizens yesterday, Gov. Joe Kernan rolled out a plan to fight rising prescription drug costs.

Kernan called drug prices and the lack of insurance coverage a "national crisis," adding that if the federal government does not address the issue by March, he might support importing drugs from Canada and other countries.

"It is not a step that I want to take," he said. "It doesn't make any sense for us to have to go up to Canada and bring drugs that were produced in the United States back into the United States. But the fact is that we have got to get to the bottom of this problem."
From WTHR-TV (IN):
Drugs from Canada
On Friday Governor Joe Kernan vowed to help lower prescription drug prices in Indiana if the federal government doesn't.

The governor's plan has caught the attention of Richard Egan of Indianapolis. Egan and his wife currently order medicine from Canada and are watching closely to see if the governor can follow through.

Every month Egan and his wife Evelyn spend $400 on medicine, medicine they get from an online pharmacy in Canada.
From the Canadian Press:
Premiers call on Martin to explain Liberal election promise on pharmacare
Canada's premiers issued a challenge Thursday to Prime Minister Paul Martin to say exactly what he meant when he promised a national pharmacare program during the June election campaign.

Wrapping up two days of talks, the premiers said a drug plan is a critical part of an overall package of health-care reforms but stopped short of demanding Martin agree to the scheme. "We have been disappointed by the initial negative response of the federal government," said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
From the Tri-City (Wash.) Herald:
Rx Express
It wasn't a Magic Bus, a Yellow Submarine, San Francisco or the 1960s. The bus sign said Genie Tours, but it ought to have read, "Rx Express."

Eleven adults, most of them senior citizens, all eager to get their hands on prescription drugs at bargain prices, made a recent run for the border. A 16-hour round-trip from Richland to Canada, dinner stop included.

"We were looking forward to it," said Roy Mayer, 77, shortly after the red bus pulled out of the Federal Building parking lot in Richland at 7:30 a.m.

Mayer, who retired as a judge from Great Falls, Mont., and now lives in Kennewick with his wife, Ellie, hoped to save big on her $6,000 annual medication costs.
From the Boston Globe:
City to offer medications from Canada
Revere is joining a small number of Massachusetts communities that have decided to buck federal law and give their municipal employees and retirees the chance to buy low-cost prescription drugs from Canada.

Starting Oct. 1, approximately 1,700 employees and retirees, plus their family members, who are enrolled in the city's self-insured health plans will have the option of purchasing drugs on a mail-order basis from CanAm Health Source, a pharmaceutical company in Montreal.
From the Urbana-Champaign (IL) News-Gazette:
For some, drugs-by-mail worth wait
For Ray Bebeau, buying prescription drugs from Canada didn't come without a few, minor hassles.

Before he was able to receive his first shipment of medicines, it took some time – about 10 days. He filled out the pharmacy's paperwork and requested 90-day prescriptions from his doctors while drugstore staff reviewed his medical history, processed his payment and shipped him the drugs.

But this 73-year-old Champaign retiree has got the time, and in his view, it's worth it.

"My wife and I were paying $300 a month for drugs. We just had to find a more economical supply," he said
From Reuters:
Pfizer caps drug sales in bid to stop reimports
U.S. pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer has told its UK wholesalers it will only supply enough prescription medicines to meet domestic demand, in a bid to stop the reimportation of drugs back into the United States.

The move follows similar action by a number of international drug makers to restrict sales to Canada, where medicines are cheaper than in the U.S. There is a growing cross-border business in Canadian drugs being sold to U.S. residents.
From the Daytona Beach (FL) News-Journal:
Drug makers consider high-tech tags to stop counterfeiting
Big pharmaceutical companies are testing new tracking technology they hope will help them spot counterfeit drugs before they reach consumers' medicine cabinets.

By putting tags that transmit radio waves on medicine bottles sent to drug stores, company officials think they will be able to detect fake drugs that aren't moving through usual supply chains.

The drug companies' concerns about counterfeiting have aroused skepticism among some who see the issue as a way to scare Americans away from buying cheaper drugs from foreign countries. Still, efforts to implement radio frequency identification technology, or RFID, are gaining momentum.
From the Newhouse News Service:
Canadian Drug Exporter Sets Up Shop in Bahamas
It took almost two months for a retired doctor in Rocky River, Ohio, to get the medicine he ordered from Canada, and when he opened the package Thursday, he found out why.

His order took a detour to the Caribbean.

The invoice for his three-month supply of Plavix, a blood thinner, has a Freeport, Bahamas, address and is dated July 22.

The delay occurred when Customs officials in Miami spotted 493 packages of prescription drugs from the Bahamas.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

From Health Canada:
Health Canada Advises Consumers to Return Euro-K and Riva-K Potassium Chloride Products
Health Canada is advising consumers of a recall of potassium replacement products distributed in Canada by EuroPharm International Canada Inc. and Laboratoire Riva Inc. Potassium replacement products are used in the treatment and prevention of potassium depletion. Recent testing has led to the conclusion that some of the products released potassium at a rate or quantity lower or higher than specified. The following products are being recalled: Euro-K 8, Euro-K 20, Euro-K 600, Riva-K 8 SR, and Riva-K 20 SR.
From the Globe and Mail:
Drug giant targets U.K. in battle against Net sales
The world's biggest pharmaceutical company is taking its battle against Canada's Internet pharmacies across the pond.

In a letter dated Aug. 17, Pfizer Inc.'s British unit said it is introducing a new supply policy for its pharmaceutical products in an apparent bid, sources say, to slow the flow of lower-priced drugs to Americans from British pharmacies linked with Internet drug sites in Canada.

"Pfizer will, at its absolute discretion, make allocations of its products to customers in sufficient quantities so that demand from patients and health care professionals in the U.K. can be satisfied," sales director Philip Watts said in the letter. "Allocations to Pfizer's customers will be determined fairly and objectively, and the policy will be applied uniformly. Pfizer will not supply amounts that exceed allocations." Mr. Watts couldn't be reached for comment.

From the Fort Worth (TX) Star Telegram:
Rx Depot co-founder has new venture
The co-founder of a Tulsa prescription drug service shut down for violating federal drug importation laws has a new company providing discounted medicines over the Internet.

Web-based Integrity Meds has been connecting prescription drug buyers with a mail-order pharmacy in Texas at prices the businesses claim are at cost plus two small fees.

"On name brands, people can save some money, but on generics they're going to rub their eyes and check it again," said David Peoples, Integrity Meds founder and co-founder of Rx Depot, on Wednesday. "It's going to be a shock."