Friday, July 30, 2004

From the Canadian Press:
Internet pharmacy association to study issue of large U.S. contracts
The association representing Canada's Internet pharmacies will spend the next two months revisiting its opposition to large contracts with U.S. cities and states before deciding whether the much-publicized policy should stand.

The outcome could have sweeping implications for the Canadian International Pharmacy Association and the course it charts in its ongoing struggle to defend its industry against criticism it will drain the Canadian drug supply.
From CBC Manitoba:
California officials visit Manitoba's Internet pharmacies
A delegation of California legislators and health officials are in Winnipeg to look at the safety of Manitoba's Internet pharmacies.

The online pharmacies are doing a booming business and David MacKay wants to keep it that way.

He's the head of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association and host of the tour.
From the Winnipeg Sun:
Californians like our Net pharmacies
A group of California lobbyists and policy-makers says the Canadian Internet pharmacies they've seen first-hand in Manitoba are safe for Americans to use. "I've been extremely satisfied with what I've seen so far," Keith Carson, a district supervisor with the Alameda, Calf., County Board of Supervisors, told reporters yesterday following a tour of Universal Drug Store on Notre Dame Avenue.

Carson is part of a delegation of Californians in Winnipeg touring several Internet pharmacies. They head to Vancouver today.
From the Globe and Mail:
Kerry would legalize import of Canadian prescription drugs
Democratic presidential contender John Kerry is promising to legalize the growing trend by Americans to purchase prescription drugs from Canada as part of a platform that proclaims health care is a "right and not a privilege."

Mr. Kerry's election blueprint has something for just about everybody. It promises military strength, and even unilateral action if necessary, while committing to global co-operation on the war on terror and international development.
From CBS Marketwatch:
Prescription savings via Canada -- or the generic route
Run to Canada to save on drug costs, that is.

As part of efforts to respond to the ongoing rise in drug costs -- three times the rate of inflation during the first quarter of 2004, according to a study by AARP -- Boston recently became the largest city in the nation to offer prescription drugs from Canada.

The city's 14,000 workers and retirees eligible to participate in Boston's program are among the millions of Americans, especially the uninsured or underinsured, who are seeking ways to reduce their out-of-pocket medication expenses.
From the Washington Post:
Montgomery Drug Plan Has the Votes, but Could Rouse the FDA
A majority of the Montgomery County Council is on record supporting a program that would probably involve importing lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada for county employees and retirees.

That doesn't mean the skeptics in the minority are going to go along without a fight.
From CBC Manitoba:
Canada to become prescription drug pipeline?
A group of California legislators and health officials were in Winnipeg on Tuesday to investigate the safety of internet pharmacies.

High drug costs south of the border have forced many states to buy cheaper Canadian drugs.

California has a population larger than Canada's and a huge pool of prescription drug buyers.
From the Globe and Mail:
Canadian drugs 'dangerous'
As some U.S. states welcome Canadian Internet pharmacies and the cheaper prescription drugs they sell, Florida Governor Jeb Bush says they're making his residents sick, and he's not sold on them.

"In Florida, we have asked [Internet drug companies] to license themselves as pharmacies," said Mr. Bush, who was in Ottawa on a trade mission Thursday.
From Pulse of the Twin Cities (Minn.):
Minnesotans take on Big Pharma
Americans have long lamented the escalating prices of medicine and Big Pharma’s near-monopoly on the industry. But a group of Minnesotans is challenging this national problem, alleging that nine pharmaceutical giants are colluding to keep us under the thumb of high prices.

The suit, filed May 19 on behalf of the Minnesota Senior Federation, may be awarded federal class-action status, depending approval by federal Judge John Tunheim. If Tunheim allows the suit to go federal, said lead attorney Marvin Miller, all Americans who have purchased brand-name pharmaceuticals that could have been more cheaply purchased in Canada would be eligible.
From E-Commerce News:
Online Pharmacies: Is the Tide Finally Turning?
U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, recently introduced the Safe Importing of Medical Products and Rx Therapies Act, a bill that will allow for importation of prescription drugs from Canada and a number of Western European countries. The Act is designed to combat the high cost of prescription drugs. If signed into law, it would allow individuals, pharmacies and wholesalers to safely import cheaper Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved prescription drugs from these countries.
From CBC Calgary:
Local Internet pharmacy to supply U.S. city
There are concerns that a Calgary-based Internet pharmacy's unusual deal with an American city could set a dangerous precedent.

Total Care Pharmacy recently signed a contract with the City of Boston to supply as many as 14,000 employees and retirees with cheap drugs.

Boston is the largest city in the United States to sign such a deal. Mark Reynolds, a city spokesman, says the project will save Boston about $1 million a year in drug costs.

Already, Reynolds says, the deal is attracting attention. "There is a certain amount of interest and we've had other cities and states call us and ask us for information."
From the Montgomery County (MD) Sentinel:
County courts Canadian drug answers
A majority of members of the Montgomery County Council are positioned to buck the federal government and the state's pharmacists and vote on September 14 in favor of a plan that would allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

The approval would conflict with warnings against the plan issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Maryland Pharmacists Association (MPhA).

Patrick Lacefield, spokesman for the Council said that currently council members Tom Perez, Phil Andrews, Marilyn Praisner, Howard Denis, and George Leventhal would likely vote to allow the drugs. The approval could save the county $15 million a year on drug costs for county employees and their families according to a report prepared for the Council in April.
From the Register (UK):
US online pharmacies take fight to Canadians
The trade in discounted prescription drugs between Canada and the US has elicited considerable controversy on both sides of the border. Yet recent figures show that sales of drugs via Canadian pharmacies have not been as great as some had predicted. However, as Datamonitor's David Deon explains, pharmaceutical companies could go further by driving the expansion of online prescribing in the US.

Minnesota and Wisconsin have generated about $545,000 in sales in the first five months of their state-sponsored websites offering Canadian drugs, according to figures made public last week. These are the first public accounting figures showing how much residents are using the websites, which were created by the governors of the two states. Yet the level of sales recorded represents a fraction of the cross-border business done by private and non-profit websites.
From WCPO-TV (OH):
Owners Of Canadian Discount Drug Company Say They Are Legal
By next month, a new Silverton storefront says Cincinnati residents won't have to go all the way to Canada to get cheaper prices on prescription drugs.

They may be able to go to a local storefront and use Internet computers to order drugs from a large Canadian pharmacy.

A mother and daughter from Wyoming hope to open their "Discount Drugs from Canada" storefront on Montgomery Road early next month.

Monday, July 26, 2004

From the Canadian Press:
Merck, Schering-Plough launch new, combination cholesterol pill
Vytorin, the first pill to lower cholesterol in two ways, should hit pharmacy shelves within weeks, the makers said Monday as they promised heavy marketing and a discounted price to battle the top-selling competition.

A joint venture between pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. won Food and Drug Administration approval late Friday for Vytorin as a supplement to dieting - an approval crucial for both companies.
From the Tallahassee (FL) Democrat:
FDA warning upsets some nursing moms
Doreen Fisher eats organic food, doesn't touch red meat and tries to avoid taking medication. But when it comes to breast-feeding her son, she makes an exception.

"I don't even take an aspirin," says Fisher, 36. "But that's how passionate I feel about breast-feeding my child."

Because of a hormonal condition that limits her natural milk production, Fisher takes domperidone, which she says has enabled her to breast-feed her 8-month-old son, Stone.

"It's worked wonderfully, and I've never seen any side effects," says Fisher, who orders the drug from a pharmacy overseas. "I don't know what I would do without it."
From the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune:
FDA says Montgomery County should scrap Canadian drug plan
The Food and Drug Administration and pharmacists asked Montgomery County on Monday to reject a plan that would make it the first jurisdiction in Maryland to import prescription drugs from Canada, saying it is illegal and would put patients at risk of receiving bogus and unsafe drugs.

Drugs sold outside the United States, often through Internet sites, are outside federal regulatory and safety control, said Thomas McGinnis, director of pharmacy affairs at the FDA. Some of those drugs are knockoffs that are made in other countries, not Canada, he said.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Boston Launches Pilot Program To Purchase Meds From Canada
The city of Boston has launched a pilot program that will enable current and retired employees with Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage to purchase prescription medications from a Canadian mail-order pharmacy.

"People who use this program will pay no co-payment for the medicines from this service," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino in a statement on the city's Web site.
From the San Mateo County (CA) Times:
Officials look to Canada for medicine
Bay Area officials embark Monday on a three-day trip to Canada to tour mail-order pharmacies that may supply prescription drugs to Californians.
Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Santa Clara County health officials, representatives of AARP and chief of staff for state Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont, are among those on the trip.

Figueroa and state Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, were scheduled to lead the delegation but had to cancel because of the state budget impasse.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

From the Canadian Press:
Pharmaceutical group files complaint against firm for ordering Canadian drugs
A Puerto Rican pharmaceutical association has filed a complaint against a local company for ordering prescription drugs from a Canadian pharmacy.

The Association of Community Pharmacies accused Farmacan PR, Inc. of violating federal regulations by ordering prescription drugs from Fort Garry Pharmacy, based in Winnipeg, the local newspaper El Nuevo Dia reported Thursday. The association filed the complaint July 2 in Puerto Rico's Health Department, which gave Farmacan until July 28 to respond.
From Tampa Bay 10:
Canadian drug storefronts still at odds with state health department
Retired engineer Robert Heinrich pedals to the Discount Medicine of Canada store every three months. He saves about two thousand dollars a year ordering prescription drugs from Canada.

Heinrich says he can’t understand why the state health department wants to license order-processing businesses, as pharmacies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

From the Lakeland (FL) Ledger:
Boston OKs Canada Prescription-Drug Plan
Boston on Wednesday became the largest city in the nation to offer prescription drugs from Canada in a move expected to save about $1 million in its first year.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino backed the pilot program despite a federal prohibition on the practice and urging from Food and Drug Administration officials to drop the idea over concerns about the safety of the drugs.
From the Boston Herald:
Boston announces deal to buy prescription drugs from Canada
The city on Wednesday joined a short list of Massachusetts cities that allow city employees and retirees to buy prescription drugs from Canada, a move officials predict will save about $1 million in its first year.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino went ahead with the plan despite a federal prohibition on the practice and despite a meeting late last year during which Food and Drug Administration officials urged him to drop the proposal.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Modest start for state drug sites
Minnesota and Wisconsin, the first states offering Canadian drugs through state-sponsored Web sites, have generated about $545,000 in sales in the first five months -- a fraction of the cross-border business done by private and nonprofit Internet sites.

Together, residents of the two states have ordered about 4,500 prescriptions through the Internet programs this year.

In Minnesota, low-cost Canadian drugs worth about $387,000 have been purchased in five months through the state-sponsored Minnesota RxConnect program launched Jan. 30, and a companion program for state employees begun in February. Wisconsin's program had $158,000 in sales in three months.
From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
FDA: Canada Drug Service illegal
Federal government officials Wednesday said a newly opened Hempfield Township storefront pharmacy is illegal.

Canada Drug Service, with a small ground-floor office on Rugh Street, bills itself as a "middleman" in bringing cheaper prescription drugs to local consumers. But according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, such businesses violate laws prohibiting anyone other than manufacturers in this country from importing drugs from Canada or other countries.

Monday, July 19, 2004

From CBC News:
Costs, resistance shrink pool of new antibiotics
Doctors have long warned that the more people take antibiotics, the more likely the drugs are to be less effective. But the fight against infection also faces another potential setback – few new antibiotics are even being developed.

Bacteria are becoming resistant to older antibiotics like penicillin and tetracyclines, but some drug companies have abandoned research into antibiotics.
From the Bennington (VT) Banner:
Vt. congressmen lead fight for drug imports
Vermont representatives are continuing to push legislation allowing reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada, appearing Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking Democrat on the committee, accused the Senate Republican leadership of purposely blocking movement on the legislation and other attempts to import drugs.
From the Boston Globe:
Import of drugs has wide favor
A new poll by the AARP says about eight out of 10 older Americans favor legalizing the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, while the same number said the issue will play an important role when they vote this year.

The lobbying organization representing people 50 and over released its results yesterday as a bipartisan group of US senators continued its campaign to bring an importation bill to the floor, where advocates believe they have the votes required for passage. Politicians should take heed, says AARP.

From the Globe and Mail:
Offshore firms selling fake drugs as Canadian
Americans are being duped by rogue Internet pharmacies in distant places such as China and Belize that masquerade as Canadian businesses and sell potentially dangerous fake and unregulated drugs, U.S. regulators say.

A top U.S. Food and Drug Administration official told a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday that it's probing at least two bogus sites billing themselves as Canadian-based and selling drugs identified as Canadian generics.
From the Washington Post:
Support Grows for Medicine Program
The Montgomery County Council appears likely to endorse a plan that would offer county employees and retirees the opportunity to buy lower-cost drugs -- in all likelihood from a Canadian intermediary -- as early as February of next year.

The council's three-member Management and Fiscal Policy Committee unanimously endorsed the plan Tuesday, bringing to five the number of council members who are on record in favor of the measure. "It's obvious that a majority of the council . . . now supports this proposal," said committee chairman Marilyn Praisner (D-Eastern County).
From the Canadian Press:
Antibiotic use in kids down, but resistance feared in preschoolers: study
Antibiotic use among children is decreasing overall, but prescriptions of one class of the bacteria-killers have risen dramatically for children under five, raising fears that drug-resistant strains could soon develop among Canadian preschoolers, research suggests.

And in one of two studies published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the researchers found that the decision to prescribe an antibiotic often depends not only on whether a doctor is a general practitioner or specialist, but also on the income level of parents and whether a child is male or female.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

From the Little Falls (NY) Times:
Schumer: Trade pact will block import of cheaper Canadian prescription drugs
Will a free trade agreement with Australia affect the possibility of Americans obtaining cheaper prescription drugs from Canada?

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer thinks so, and expressed his concern in a telephone press conference Thursday.

The House on Wednesday approved the free trade agreement by a vote of 314-109. The Senate is expected to follow Thursday with a vote to implement the agreement signed by the two countries last February.
From Medical News Today:
Health Canada takes additional safety measures to ensure the safe use of Clozapine
Health Canada is taking additional steps to ensure the safe use of clozapine, a drug used in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Clozapine is used for patients that are unresponsive to, or not tolerant to, conventional drugs. The use of clozapine is known to potentially cause a decrease in white blood cells, known as agranulocytosis, which impairs the body's defense mechanism against infection. As such, patients must have regular blood tests to monitor their white blood cell count. Results are recorded in patient registries, which are accessed by treating physicians and pharmacists to ensure that the drug is not given to a patient at risk for agranulocytosis.
From the Bradenton (FL) Herald:
Bill stalls to reimport cheaper drugs
Geraldine and James Keon of Westland, Mich., joined a busload of seniors in Windsor, Canada, this month looking for bargains on prescription drugs.

Americans who bring prescription drugs they have purchased in Canada or other countries into the United States are breaking the law, but U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials say they are not interested in prosecuting or confiscating pharmaceuticals from individuals who purchase and bring medicine for themselves back from foreign countries.

In fact, busloads of senior citizens who travel to Canada often are open with Canadian and U.S. customs officials about the intent of their trips and what they are bringing back. The larger issue now for Americans who buy Canadian drugs is that pharmaceutical companies are cracking down on stores that sell to non-Canadians by limiting drug supplies or - in the case of Pfizer - making pharmacies sign statements to fill only Canadian prescriptions.
From the Detroit News:
Cities buy Canadian drugs, cut costs
For 30 years, Roger Landry has been rounding up criminals in this city near the Connecticut border. But in the eyes of federal regulators, Officer Landry is himself a lawbreaker.

He and his wife have made out handsomely from their illegal activity, pocketing an extra $1,000 this year. But rather than punish the pair, city officials are cheering them on. Thanks to the Landrys and 3,200 other city workers who have opted to order their prescription drugs from a licensed Canadian pharmacy, deficit-plagued Springfield has saved $2.5 million in the year since it became the first city in the nation to sponsor such a program.
From the Myrtle Beach (SC) Sun News:
Canadian drugs gain in support
Several years ago, the Bush administration's opposition to legalizing the purchase of less expensive drugs from Canada was so intense that Andy Troszok, of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, couldn't imagine meeting with White House officials about making the practice legal.

Even less likely, Troszok thought, was getting pharmacy benefit managers - the companies that manage drug benefits for U.S. employers - to consider buying medications from Canadian suppliers, where they're 30 percent to 60 percent cheaper.

Friday, July 16, 2004

From the Fort Francis (ON) Times:
Safeway eyeing cross-border pharmacy business
Canada Safeway, one of North America’s largest grocery chains, is studying plans to compete head-to-head with Internet pharmacies by exporting Canadian drugs to the United States to be sold in its network of 1,200 pharmacies.

Drugs from Canada, where prices are under government control, would be sold by Safeway’s parent company stores in the U.S., Barry Peachment, Safeway’s director of pharmacy, said in an interview yesterday.

Peachment said Safeway, which has about 190 pharmacies in Canada, has been forced to consider cross-border exportation because of the U.S. and Canadian governments’ decision to permit unfettered sales by Canadian Internet pharmacies to American consumers.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

From the Vancouver Sun:
U.S. firm seeks B.C. MDs to prescribe mail order drugs
A U.S. company is trying to recruit Vancouver doctors for its cross-border, mail-order pharmacy.

On "craigslist" -- a San Francisco-based website that is the toast of the Internet at the moment, with articles about it in People magazine and the Los Angeles Times -- an unnamed American company has posted an ad saying it's looking for a "few ambitious" doctors to co-sign prescriptions for senior citizens and nursing home residents in California.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Slow-walking reimportation drug measure
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) blocked Democrats from attaching legislation on drug reimportation to a class-action reform bill, which he yanked off the Senate floor last week for the third time this year.

Drug reimportation legislation apparently has the numbers to pass the Senate and it already has passed the House, which has led some lawmakers, aides and lobbyists to question why the Senate has not acted.
From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
House votes to allow Canada drug imports
The House voted Tuesday to allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada and other countries at prices lower than found in the United States, but the provision's prospects are dim to become law this year.

The measure, approved as part of a $16.8 billion bill to fund the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration for next year, would prohibit the FDA from spending money to enforce its prohibition on imports of FDA-approved drugs.

A subcommittee put it into the bill last month at the instigation of Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio. The bill itself passed the House on Tuesday by a 389-31 vote.
From the Globe and Mail:
Rewards for drug purchases nixed
Ontario consumers can no longer collect Air Miles or other loyalty rewards for their prescription purchases -- a setback for pharmacies such as Pharma Plus and Shoppers Drug Mart that try to lure customers with these programs.

The Ontario Superior Court has upheld a recent decision of the Ontario College of Pharmacists to ban such rewards on the basis that they can be seen as an "inducement" to take prescriptions -- and as such are professionally unethical.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Health Canada Investigates Oxycodone Prescriptions
Health Canada is investigating the sales of oxycodone by pharmacies in the Atlantic provinces of Canada because of growing concerns over misuse of the drug, the Medical Post reported July 6.

Pharmacists in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador have until Aug. 15 to submit records of every oxycodone prescription sold during the first six months of 2004.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

From CBC News:
Pharmacists to monitor use of OxyContin
Health Canada is telling pharmacists in Atlantic Canada to track the use of narcotics from the family of drugs that includes OxyContin.

OxyContin is a powerful pain medication that falls under the federal government's narcotic control act.
From AARP:
Battle Lines Drawn on Rx Imports
Sensitive to a popular cause that has gained enormous momentum over the past six months, Congress is now closer to making it legal and safer for Americans to buy lower-cost prescription drugs from abroad—though what form that action will take is far from certain.

Previous attempts to legalize drug importation, including one signed into law in 2000, have all foundered on the "safety issue"—the fear that it would open the floodgates to counterfeit and otherwise harmful medications. President Bush, the pharmaceutical industry and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for drug safety, all cite safety in opposing legalization.
From New York Newsday:
Seniors travel north to buy medication
Jean Cook said she felt desperate -- so much so she boarded a bus this week for a four-hour trip to Montreal to save money on her costly prescription drug bills.

"You've got to do what you've got to do," said Cook, who toted a plastic bag filled with medicines that she said cost $270 less than what she pays for a three-month supply at her local pharmacy.

Still, she complained, "Why don't we spend money in our own backyard and help seniors get drugs?"
From the Detroit Free Press:
SENIORS' PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS: Rx for hope and frustration
Geraldine and James Keon of Westland joined a busload of seniors in Windsor this week looking for bargains on prescription drugs.

Last year, their cross-border trips saved the Keons about $1,200 on seven prescriptions that they take for ailments including heart disease, high blood pressure and acid gas reflux.

Americans bought about $1 billion in pharmaceuticals from Canada last year, saving up to 70 percent over the cost of drugs in the United States, according to the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. Canadian drugs are cheaper because of government incentives for physicians to prescribe less expensive pharmaceuticals.
From the Richmond (BC) Review:
Doctor reprimanded for role in net pharmacy
A local doctor has become the first physician in B.C. to be reprimanded for his involvement in the burgeoning billion-dollar Internet drug dispensing industry.

Dr. Satnam Singh Gandham, a family doctor whose practice is located at 201-6051 Gilbert Rd., admitted to authorizing drug prescriptions for patients in the United States whom he never saw.

Gandham did this for many months despite the fact this practice of countersigning prescriptions without having assessed the patients in person has been denounced by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. as well as other similar medical regulatory bodies across Canada.
This week, Gandham was fined $25,000 and was formally reprimanded by the Council of the College after he admitted to his role.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

From Health Canada:
Health Canada releases important information on the dispensation of clozapine products in Canada
The Marketed Health Products Directorate (MHPD) and the Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD) would like to draw your attention to important upcoming revisions to the Product Monographs of all clozapine products marketed in Canada. These revisions will strengthen the labelling and address ongoing issues around patient consent for the sharing of information between registries. As you know, monitoring of patients with the use of registries is the risk mitigation strategy in place to address the known risk of agranulocytosis.
From Yahoo News:
Painkillers May Slow Healing After Shoulder Surgery
Anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used to relieve pain after shoulder surgery may impair healing, new animal research suggests.

Rats that were treated with anti-inflammatory drugs had poorer healing than animals that were not given the drugs, researchers reported Friday at a meeting of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine in Quebec City, Canada.
From Health Canada:
ARAVA (leflunomide) and interstitial lung disease
Cases of lung inflammation causing difficulty breathing have occurred rarely in patients receiving Arava®. Tell your doctor without delay if you experience new or worsening of shortness of breath and/or cough, with or without associated fever, at any time while you are taking Arava®.
From Health Canada:
Association of Desyrel (trazodone) with drug interactions with medications that alter CYP 3A4 metabolism
In vitro drug metabolism studies suggest that there is a potential for drug interactions when trazodone is given with drugs that alter metabolism by CYP3A4, leading to adverse effects including nausea, hypotension and syncope.
From CBC Prince Edward Island:
Methadone program on the way: Gillan
P.E.I.'s health minister said convincing some addictions workers that methadone can help people kick their drug habit has slowed a provincial methadone program.

Chester Gillan said the province believes methadone can help people who are addicted to narcotics. He said some people who work with addicts didn't think giving drugs to people with an addiction was the right way to go.

However, a review of how methadone has been working so far has shown it can help. Currently the Island is the only Canadian province without a methadone program.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

From the New York Times:
Drug Companies Seek to Mend Their Image
With drug prices skyrocketing, the pharmaceutical industry has long had plenty of critics. And in a measure of just how badly tarnished the industry's image has become, even some of its most prominent defenders are turning against it.

That could spell trouble, which is why the drug industry is about to begin a charm offensive to try to win back the nation's affection.

Roy Vagelos, the well-known former chairman of Merck & Company and one of the industry's most prominent boosters, now condemns drug makers for the "exorbitant" prices of new medicines and "galloping" annual increases of old ones. Government price controls, he predicts, are almost inevitable.
From CBC News:
Drug company offers discounts to 43M Americans
U.S. drug company Pfizer Inc. moved Wednesday to make lower-priced pharmaceuticals available to millions of Americans who don't have an insurance plan.

The company said it "will provide millions of working families without drug coverage access to Pfizer medicines at an average saving of 37 per cent," starting in August.
From the Albany (NY) Times Union:
Drug run to Canada an Rx for seniors' costs
Ramona Olnedo boarded a bus to Canada early Tuesday for one simple reason: to save money.

The three-month supply of prescription drugs that the 68-year-old from Brooklyn will buy at a Montreal hotel later that night will cost her $770 less than it would at home.

The 14 hours she will spend on the round-trip bus are well worth it for that kind of savings, Olnedo said.

From the Lakeland (FL) Ledger:
Stop Scaring Florida's Seniors
Florida's many seniors who have turned to ordering drugs from Canada need to be aware of three things: 1. If a spokesman says something often enough, even if it's not true, many people will think it's true.

Example: Last week, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health warned about buying drugs from foreign countries or over the Internet.

"It is the equivalent of selling drugs out of the trunk of a car," she said. "If you're utilizing services of an unlicensed practitioner, you don't have anybody you can turn to, nobody in your court, no assurance, no monitoring and no recourse . . . if something goes wrong."
From the Alberta Daily Herald Tribune:
Cracking down on meth
Grande Prairie police are hailing a move by pharmacists across Western Canada to keep the ingredients used in creating the potent street drug crystal meth out of the hands of those who make it.

The change will mean products that contain ephedrine and pseudoephedrine will only be available behind the counter and will only be sold in small quantities, Tracy Marsden, president of the Alberta College of Pharmacists, said Tuesday.

"This step is in support of efforts to curb the production and use of methamphetamine," said Marsden, who believes the measure is the first of its kind in Canada.
From the Winnipeg Sun:
New wrinkle in drug dispensing
The innovative work being done in an L-shaped building outside Winnipeg is about to transform the pharmacy business in Canada. So predicts Darren Chalus, general manager of Stream Pharmacy Solutions, the country's first automated dispensing facility.

"With one pharmacist we're able to fill upwards of 3,000 prescriptions in an eight-hour period, where a (regular pharmacy) could fill 200 during that time," Chalus said in an interview from the 12,000-square-foot plant in Homewood, which is about a 45-minute drive southwest of Winnipeg.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

From the Globe and Mail:
Alberta makes ‘meth' tougher to make
Pharmacists across Alberta have decided to move two key ingredients for making crystal meth behind their counters in an effort to stem the burgeoning production of the street drug.

Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are the principal ingredients in d-methamphetamine, a potent and highly addictive drug known on the street as "ice" or "crystal meth."
From Bloomberg:
Canadian Drug Import Bills Divide U.S. Republicans
Republicans running for Congress in Ohio, Iowa and Florida are splitting with President George W. Bush over his opposition to importing drugs from Canada, where the government sets prices as much as 70 percent lower.

``I don't see why we shouldn't be able to import,'' said Ohio Republican Frank Cusimano, 39, who is trying to unseat a Democrat in the House. The issue became personal when his 58-year-old mother- in-law needed a two-week supply of the Pharmacia Corp. antibiotic Zyvox. It cost $697 and wasn't covered by insurance.

Monday, July 05, 2004

From Newsday (NY):
U.S., industry crack down on drug importation
Irving and Charlotte Diton of Melville waited and waited this spring for their shipment of prescription drugs from Canada. It never came. Finally, the elderly couple learned that U.S. Customs had seized the $531 three-month supply of medicine.

"It's an effort to scare people off," said Diton, a 75-year-old retired electrical engineer. "Of all the things that customs has on their mind, this seems like this should be a pretty low priority."

Even as Congress considers legislation to legalize the importation of drugs from Canada, efforts by older adults to get those medications have become increasingly challenging, with the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection continuing to confiscate some packages and drugmakers cutting off supplies to Canadian pharmacies and distributors who ship their goods to Americans.
From the Fort Worth (TX) Star Telegram:
Senior drug smugglers
I can be very frail if I need to be," Kate Stahl said recently. Frailty is not normally prized by political activists, but Stahl is an unlikely agitator. A retired medical secretary with nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, she is 85 years old, appears to weigh hardly that many pounds and spent much of her adult life in rural seclusion as the sole female resident on Little Dead Horse Lake, a small community about five miles outside Marcell, Minn.
From the Helena (MT) Independent Record:
Canadian connection
A local man who ran an Rx Depot franchise for a few months last summer until the company was shut down by a federal judge, is again helping local residents obtain cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Tom Kennedy opened Canadian Connection in April and has helped about 100 clients fill their prescriptions at lower prices north of the border.

For now, state and federal officials seem to be leaving businesses like Kennedy's alone as Congress contemplates what to do. At least two bills relating to drug prices are under consideration in the U.S. Senate. One would legalize the safe importation of prescription drugs from other countries, beginning with Canada. Drug manufacturers are urging Congress to back drug discount cards.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

From the Lakeland (FL) Ledger:
Canadian Drug Providers Meet
About 20 owners of Canadian prescription services based in Florida gathered Monday evening in Lakeland to consider a legal defense against the state.

The meeting came in response to 12 cease-and-desist orders issued June 16, when the Florida Department of Health ordered the prescription services to shut down immediately because they were performing unlicensed pharmaceutical activities.

"If we shut down, our customers won't know where to go," said Audrey Meadows, the owner of Discount Drugs of CanAmerica at 4120 U.S. 98 N., where the owners met last night. "They can't go back to the corner pharmacy, because they don't want to and they can't afford to."
From the Boston Globe:
Canadian drugs may be what the budget ordered
Newton employees and retirees ordered nearly 6,000 prescriptions of the cholesterol-reducing drug Lipitor last year -- for a total cost to the city of $434,300.

If Newton had used the Internet to order all of the Lipitor from Canadian pharmacies, it would have saved about $90,000, according to a Globe West analysis using average prices in each country. That amount of money would have been nearly enough to hire two teachers.

For months, Newton officials have been quietly studying the idea of importing drugs from Canada, where government price controls make prescription drugs 20 to 80 percent cheaper.
From the Lakeland (FL) Ledger:
Drug Services Refusing Florida's Offer
Thanks, but no thanks.

The state's Department of Health announced Tuesday it would take steps to make it easier for Canadian prescription services to become licensed as mail-order pharmacies. But there's a problem, according to the local businesses.

"We're not a pharmacy," said Daniel Meadows Jr., a customer service representative at Discount Drugs of CanAmerica at 4120 U.S. 98 N.
From the South Bend (IN) Tribune:
Donnelly favors drug re-importation
Democratic congressional candidate Joe Donnelly has called on Congress to authorize the re-importation of prescription drugs from licensed pharmacies in Canada, and criticized Republican incumbent Chris Chocola for voting against the practice.

"Working families and all families deserve the opportunity to purchase their drugs from Canada and put the savings right in their pockets," Donnelly said.
From the White Plains (NY) Journal News:
Protesting American drug policies
Senior citizens from Rockland and the metro area will travel to Canada next week to demand the federal government do something about the rising costs of prescription drugs in the United States.

That something, they say, is to approve a bill in the Senate that would make it legal to buy prescription drugs from Canada and 20 other industrialized countries.

While some of the riders on the RxExpress bus to Montreal will purchase drugs at cheaper prices there, the two-day trip is meant to send a message or two.
From the San Francisco Examiner:
Drug connection
A Canadian online drug company is reaping a business bonanza thanks to the San Francisco Health Department's Web site, which sends people on a virtual shopping trip to Vancouver, Alberta and Winnepeg.

"Visits to the Web site are up 349 percent in just one week,'' crows an announcement from the British Columbia-based Web site.
From the Pawtucket (RI) Times:
State legalizes purchase of Canadian presciption drugs
Rhode Island has become the first state to make it legal to purchase prescription drugs from Canada, where prices can be three to four times lower than for the same medicine bought in this country.

Turning aside the importuning of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the Ocean State, as well as a letter of warning from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services warning that the law would, "undermine key consumer protection standards and place your constituents at unnecessary risk of harm from unregulated pharmaceuticals" Carcieri allowed the measure to become law without his signature Thursday.
From the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News:
Knowles camp backs Canadian drug imports
U.S. Senate candidate Tony Knowles says in a new campaign ad that Americans ought to be able to import prescription drugs from Canada.

"We pay more than twice as much as Canadians for the same drugs, yet Congress forbids you from ordering the cheaper drugs," he says in his new TV spot.

The Knowles ad doesn't mention Sen. Lisa Murkowski, but his campaign issued a statement to reporters Friday listing Murkowski's record on the issue and alleging that she has "consistently sided with pharmaceutical companies."
From (RI):
Canadian drug bill becomes law
A bill that will allow the state Department of Health to issue licenses to Canadian pharmacies became law without the governor’s signature.

The new law, sponsored by Sen. Roger Badeau (D-Dist. 20, Cumberland, Woonsocket), removes an obstacle for Rhode Islanders seeking to buy prescription medicines from Canada, where they are often substantially cheaper.

Carcieri had announced his support for the bill in April, but earlier this week said he might veto it. Several business and health groups as well as two major drugmakers lobbied for a veto, saying the imported drugs would endanger health and stifle the growth of the biotechnology industry.

Younger men looking for a lift: Older teens, adults in their 20s are taking Viagra
Forget Bob Dole or Guy Lafleur. The next pitchman for Viagra may be McCauley Culkin.

Lured by the idea that fail-safe and firmer erections may be found in a pill bottle, younger and younger men are asking doctors for erectile dysfunction drugs even when their sexual "functioning" is normal.

Older teens and men in their 20s are taking Viagra or newer erection remedies routinely before dates or parties, doctors report.
From the Billings (MT) Gazette:
More Americans buying drugs north of the border to cut costs
Until earlier this year, Mary Jane Muth hadn't given much thought to the price of prescription drugs.

"We had never had any major medical problems before this," said Muth, who lives in Billings with her husband, Don.

Mary Jane, 58, owns MJ's Therapeutic Massage and Don, 61, runs Don's Auto Shop.

On Feb. 5, after a routine physical, Don learned that he had colon cancer. That in itself was devastating, but other issues soon confronted the couple.
From the Fort Myers (FL) News Press:
Seniors struggle with Canadian drug dispute
Loyal customers of cheaper Canadian drugs say Florida’s recent attempt to close neighborhood storefronts won’t deter them from finding other ways to save on their prescriptions.

Despite state and federal warnings that drugs purchased from foreign and unlicensed pharmacies cannot be regulated for safety, residents are turning to the Internet or direct mail ordering to fill their much-needed prescription medications.

Customers were aghast last month when they heard the state shut down 12 businesses — including one in Bonita Springs and one in Punta Gorda — that connected customers with Canada. The state accused them of acting as unlicensed pharmacies.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Rx Processing brings Bay area closer to Canadian drugs
Rx Processing, a company that provides United States residents with access to Canadian pharmaceuticals, is setting up its corporate headquarters in Tampa.

And that's like entering the eye of the hurricane.

Florida is one of the more aggressive states in regulating companies that order Canadian prescription drugs, said David Zazoff, a spokesman for Rx Processing. But he also said the state's large population of senior citizens made it attractive to Rx Processing.
From the Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune:
Internet pharmacy definition unclear
Businesses ordering Canadian prescription drugs for consumers might insist they aren't pharmacies, but the state is trying to hem them into that definition on more than one front.

A law signed by Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday creates a broad definition of what constitutes an "Internet pharmacy" and sets up a separate license category.

Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Health took another approach to rein in the businesses. It invited so-called storefront pharmacies, which help consumers order cheaper medications from Canada, to become licensed as "mail-order" pharmacies.