Tuesday, August 31, 2004

From the Toronto Star:
Pharmacare proposal 'bad public policy': Ottawa
Ottawa would never agree to the kind of national pharmacare program proposed by the premiers because it would cost too much and makes no sense, Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said today.

With the premiers set to meet to plot their next steps in a public showdown with the federal government, Dosanjh issued his strongest rejection yet of the idea, calling it "bad public policy" that would undercut Ottawa's responsibilities.
From the New York Times:
Pfizer Ends Drug Cards for Elderly
Pfizer, the nation's largest drug maker, ended its widely used discount card for the elderly yesterday, leaving several hundred thousand low-income Medicare beneficiaries at least temporarily without access to reduced prices for popular medicines like the cholesterol treatment Lipitor.

The company said that it had been warning its 536,000 cardholders for months that it would discontinue the discount program on Aug. 31 and that it had advised them to sign up for various discount cards that became available under a new Medicare program that began in June.
From the Globe and Mail:
McGuinty tries to heal rift
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty moved yesterday to heal the rift between the federal and provincial governments over fixing medicare, saying a federally funded drug plan may not be essential to a deal.

Mr. McGuinty's comments set the tone for a premiers meeting beginning in Toronto tomorrow at which provincial leaders will plan their strategy for a health summit with Prime Minister Paul Martin. The premiers want Ottawa to develop and pick up the costs of a national pharmacare program.
From MassLive.com:
Drug-importer change suggested
The Massachusetts Senior Action Council is calling on customers of CanadaRX to buy their drugs from CanaRX, the same drug company used by Springfield city employees.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seized a large shipment of drugs from CanadaRx heading to the United States because the drugs were shipped from the Bahamas, according to William K. Hubbard, associate commissioner of the FDA.

The seizure left many people waiting for their medication, said Isaac BenEzra, president of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Canadian sites look overseas for drug supply
Millions of Americans now buy drugs from Canadian-based Internet pharmacies in an effort to save money. So far, the quantity and quality of the drugs has seemed relatively assured.

But during the last year, U.S. customers using Canadian websites have faced increasing difficulty getting top-selling medications such as Celebrex to treat arthritis and the antidepressant Effexor. That's because several of the world's biggest pharmaceutical makers are restricting supply to online Canadian pharmacies that ship to the U.S., leading to delays of several weeks for many customers. In severe cases, some sites have stopped accepting new clients looking for the hardest-to-get medications.
From the Milford (Mass.) Daily News:
U.S. government seizes seniors' prescriptions
U.S. Customs officials seized a large shipment of prescription drugs a month ago, blocking at least five local elderly people from getting their medicine ordered from a Canadian pharmacy, a Marlborough Council on Aging employee said this week.

Janice Long, outreach coordinator for the COA, said she is worried other local people did not get their drugs. She said one Marlborough man whose drug order has been held up had to buy his medicine from a U.S. pharmacy at much higher prices.
Friom American Medical News:
States challenge FDA in fight over drug reimportation
The struggle between the federal government and the states over prescription drug reimportation has heated up on two fronts but cooled down on another.

Within days of each other, Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich unveiled a plan to let residents buy prescription drugs from other nations, and Vermont sued the federal government for the right to reimport prescription medications. But at the same time, the federal government announced what it sees as a victory for patient safety. Two companies with stores and Internet sites agreed to stop helping U.S. citizens buy drugs from Canadian pharmacies.

Monday, August 30, 2004

From the Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph:
Rx for confusion
Don't blame Canada.

Older adults wondering where or how to buy their prescription medicines have all sorts of choices. With the rising cost of prescription drugs, no one would argue against competition.

But instead of an era of good feelings, the age of buying drugs from Canada, using Medicare-approved drug discount cards and even a governor's idea to help Illinoisans buy medicine from across the border has proved confusing.
From WMUR-TV (NH):
California Eyes New Hampshire Web Site Promoting Canadian Prescription Drugs
California lawmakers want to join New Hampshire in creating a government-sponsored Web site to encourage the purchase of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Federal law prohibits drug imports from other counties, but an estimated one million Americans are having their prescriptions filled at Canadian pharmacies at prices as much as 40 percent less than their American counterparts.

New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson added a link to the state Web site in April that leads to a Canadian pharmacy.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

From the Indianapolis Star:
State won't bless drug imports
With the click of a computer mouse, visitors to government Web sites in four states can fill orders for prescription drugs from private pharmacies in Canada.

It's a controversial Internet option that won't be offered by Indiana anytime soon.

Neither Gov. Joe Kernan nor his Republican challenger Mitch Daniels plans to try to put the state's stamp of approval on north-of-the-border drug buys.

And even if state legislators consider such a service, they would face potent opposition from drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co., Central Indiana's largest private employer.
From the Canadian Press:
Ottawa has money for drug program, provincial finance ministers say
Ottawa has the money to set up and pay for a national pharmacare program despite its insistence to the contrary, provincial finance ministers said Friday.

The ministers argued the federal government consistently cries poor even though it is awash in cash, saying it has underestimated its revenues by about $73 billion over 10 years. "The federal government has the capacity to fund the kind of reforms that we're proposing," Ontario's Greg Sorbara said after meeting his provincial counterparts at a downtown hotel.
From the Duluth (MN) News Tribune:
Calif. Lawmakers OK Canadian Drug Bill
California lawmakers have approved bills that would create government-sponsored Web sites encouraging consumers to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

The measures, which face almost certain vetoes by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, would make California one of just a few states to provide residents similar online information. Others include Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Maine.
From the Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph:
Savings found across the border
Wayne Cowan is in good health thanks in part to the mix of medicines on a tray on his kitchen table.

"Oh, we get all sorts of medicines," the easygoing 67-year-old LeRoy man said.

There's Altace for high blood pressure; aspirin to reduce risk of heart attack; Bextra for inflammation of the joints; Coreg and Digoxin for the heart; Coumadin to thin the blood, FiberCon to soften stools; folic acid to add nutrients removed by other medicines; Lasix to expel water; methotrexate sodium for arthritis; Plavix to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke; Prednisone to reduce swelling of joints; Zocor to control cholesterol; and Vitamin C and a multivitamin.
From NBC5.com (IL):
Irish Drug Wholesalers Not In Line With Governor's Plan
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's discount prescription drug plan could be in trouble, after Ireland's major wholesalers there said they were never contacted by the governor's office.

Blagojevich wants to import drugs from England, Ireland, Scotland and Canada, but published reports say Irish wholesalers are balking at the plan. The reports state that two of Ireland's biggest distributors say they wouldn't participate if they were asked.
From Bloomberg:
California Lawmakers Pass Canadian Drug Bills, L.A. Times Says
The California state Legislature approved a package of bills allowing the importation of less expensive drugs from Canada, the Los Angeles Times reported today.

The drug-import legislation was opposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and was called a ``political ploy'' by his aides because the federal government restricts drugs from other countries coming into the U.S., the Times said.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

From the Washington Times:
Mayor backs Web link to cheap drugs
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday backed the city's link to a Minnesota state Web site that shows consumers how to get low-cost drugs from Canada, defying warnings from federal regulators and Minnesota officials.

"I believe in what we're doing," Mr. Williams said, referring to an item recently posted on the official D.C. government Web site that links to Minnesota RxConnect.
From the Canadian Press:
Train brings Americans to Canada seeking lower-cost prescription drugs
Carla Coco-Boutte of Santa Barbara, Calif., stepped off an Amtrak train here Wednesday for a brief Canadian excursion, but her souvenirs of the trip won't be aboriginal carvings or smoked salmon.

The 51-year-old former airline employee is hoping to go back with an armload of prescription drugs, bought at a fraction of the price she'd pay in the United States. "It's the only way I can survive," says Coco-Boutte, who estimates her monthly drug costs at around $1,000 US. "I'm on a limited income. Without benefits, I would have to keep doing this."
From The (Columbia, SC) State:
Mayor's Web link to Canada drug outlets sparks debate
Two years ago, Northeast Richland retiree Richard Astrella received his order of Coumadin — a heart medication — in the mail and looked it over.

The little round pill looked just like what he previously had bought from a local pharmacy, but it was shipped to his house from Canada, and it was $30 cheaper for a 90-day supply.

Astrella, 72, has been buying most of his medication — Pravachol, Diovan, Altace and Coumadin — from Canadian pharmacies for two years, saving a combined $275 on the orders. He says he has had no problems with them.
From the Boston Globe:
Drug firms sued over prices
Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug maker, and 14 other pharmaceutical companies were accused by a group of California drugstores in a lawsuit of conspiring to keep lower-priced medicines from Canada out of the US market.

The lawsuit filed here by 14 independent pharmacies says the manufacturers use anticompetitive tactics to inflate drug prices. The pharmacies claim they pay four times more for prescription drugs than retailers in other countries.

Some drug makers limit sales to Canadian pharmacies as more than 1 million Americans use the Internet to order drugs from Canada, where medicines are as much as 77 percent cheaper. Pfizer, Eli Lilly & Co., and AstraZeneca PLC are reducing sales to Canada, in some cases cutting off retailers, to limit supplies available to send to US customers.
From the St. Louis Business Journal:
Blagojevich asks Pfizer to allow export of drugs from U.K.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is asking Pfizer Inc. to stop its plans to prevent British pharmaceutical wholesalers from providing drugs outside of the United Kingdom.

Blagojevich said this week Pfizer changed its supply procedures for the United Kingdom, now supplying only wholesalers who do business with patients or health-care professionals in the U.K. Pfizer previously made a similar move in Canada, which was followed by four other major drug companies.

Friday, August 27, 2004

From the Washington Times:
Mayor backs Web link to cheap drugs
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday backed the city's link to a Minnesota state Web site that shows consumers how to get low-cost drugs from Canada, defying warnings from federal regulators and Minnesota officials.

"I believe in what we're doing," Mr. Williams said, referring to an item recently posted on the official D.C. government Web site that links to Minnesota RxConnect.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

From CBC News:
Rx train seniors rail against drug prices
A group of U.S. seniors in search of cheaper prescription drugs pulled into Vancouver Wednesday, after a trip from southern California aboard the Rx Express train.

The pensioners made the three-day trip as part of a protest against high drug prices in the United States.

A group called the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights has paid for the train. It wants the U.S. federal government to reduce the cost of pharmaceutical drugs to Medicare patients and others by allowing a national bulk-purchasing program.
From Investor's Business Daily
FDA may sue states over drug imports
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may soon take legal action against states that insist on importing prescription drugs from foreign drug retailers, a senior agency official says.

"We may end up having to go to court with them and we think we would prevail," FDA Associate Commissioner William Hubbard said in an interview. "So far, we've chosen not to pick a fight at this point."

From WOI-TV (IA):
Vilsack pushes prescription drug plan to buy from Canada
Governor Tom Vilsack says he is fighting to lower prescription drug costs as he kicked off a campaign today (Wednesday) in Des Moines for a consumer rights group.

Vilsack kicked off a prescription drug campaign for the Iowa Citizen Action Network Education Foundation. The group is asking state officials to get more involved in lowering the cost of prescription drugs for Iowans.
From USA Today:
Risks are too high by William Hubbard -- associate commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
At the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), our primary job is to ensure the safety of medicines sold in the U.S. We are on the front line in policing the drug supply to prevent bad medicine from reaching patients.

Unfortunately, unapproved drugs are illegally arriving in the United States at an unprecedented rate, as people are turning to alternative sources and transforming the traffic in drug imports from one that was composed almost entirely of commercial bulk shipments to one that includes millions of personal packages of unapproved drugs.

(Editor's note: Usually we do not include opinion pieces or editorials here, but since this was written by the best-known person against international pharmacy at the FDA, we thought it was notable enough to include.)
From the New Britain (CT) Herald:
Larson shares Rx drug study results
Gladys Kitchens, 81, said her question might just run her out of town, but she hoped U.S. Rep. John Larson (D-1) could answer it.

"I want to know how many people have died in Canada," Kitchens said.

Kitchens was referring to the warning issued by state pharmacies and federal regulators about the risk of importing drugs.

Larson told her more people get food poisoning where there is ongoing FDA (Federal Drug Administration) inspection.
From KXTV-TV (CA):
Seniors Use Train Ride to Dramatize Need for Cheaper Drugs
Seniors and others who hope to buy cheaper prescription medication in Canada are boarding a train that is making its way up northward from Los Angeles.

Sponsored by the the Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights, the train is stopping in dozens of West Coast cities on its way to Canada. The train trip is meant to dramatize the plight of seniors who can't afford to pay for medications in the U.S.
From the (Portland) Oregonian:
Rx Express heads north for drug buy
The caboose end of a Canada-bound Amtrak train hosted a protest against high prescription drug prices Tuesday on its way through Oregon.

California-based organizers chartered two privately owned rail cars and added them to Amtrak's regularly scheduled Coast Starlight train. They nicknamed it the Rx Express to draw attention to Canada's bulk purchasing of drugs -- an approach they say would bring Americans big discounts if the U.S. government would copy it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

From the Portland (OR) Business Journal:
Prescription drug train stops in Portland
The Rx Express, a chartered train taking 20 seniors and other patients to Canada to buy lower cost prescription drugs, planned a stop in Portland Tuesday to pick up passengers and to draw attention to the potential savings of bulk drug purchases.

The train, which will reach Vancouver, British Columbia, on Aug. 25, is picking up passengers in Portland at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Prescription drugs are available in Canada, England and Ireland at 30 percent to 60 percent less than in the United States because those countries control drug prices and negotiate rates on behalf of all patients -- a move that drug companies have blocked in the United States, according to the Foundation For Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Santa Monica, Calif., and the sponsor of the Rx Express.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

From CBS-11 (TX):
Prescriptions And Profit
There are two recent developments in the continuing battle over the price of prescription drugs: Illinois announced it will help its residents buy drugs from Canada, and Vermont announced it's going to sue the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the right of its citizens to buy drugs in Canada.

It may come as no surprise that the pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable business in the country. American drug prices are the highest in the world, so more than a million Americans now buy their medications in Canada.

From the Modesto (CA) Bee:
Train trip protests Canadian-drug ban
On Monday, retirees Bill and Sonja Clarke, of Placerville, boarded a midnight train to Canada.

They're riding the rails to protest a federal ban on prescription drug imports and to pressure Gov. Schwarzenegger to reconsider his opposition to legislation that would help patients buy medications from Canada.

Their 36-hour journey up the Pacific coast to a Vancouver pharmacy in the waning days of the legislative session is part of a quest by consumer groups and advocates for seniors to win passage for several Canadian drug bills despite a veto threat from the Schwarzenegger administration.

From the (Columbia, SC) State:
Coble offers help getting medicine from Canada
Columbia Mayor Bob Coble is using his personal Web site to direct local consumers to Canadian pharmacies for low-cost prescription drugs, which is against federal drug importation policy.

Coble’s action — which he wants the city to endorse — follows several other cities and states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Boston and Washington D.C., which provide Web links to selected Canadian pharmacies.

It marks the first action by an S.C. elected official to introduce Canadian drugs here, local experts say.
From CBC.ca:
Generic drugs cost too much: study
Consumers are paying too much for many prescription drugs because of federal government policies, says a report released on Monday by the Fraser Institute.

The study, titled Generic Drugopoly, argues that a small number of companies have a near-monopoly on generic drugs.

That means that prices for generic drugs are higher in Canada than in the United States or many other countries.

Monday, August 23, 2004

From the Lawrence (KS) Journal World:
State may offer help to obtain Canadian drugs
Kansas isn't ready to provide inexpensive -- but illegal -- prescription drugs from Canada despite a growing movement by other states to do so.

But officials in Topeka said last week they might be willing to enable Kansans to make an end run around federal law by setting up a Web site that would show people how to independently obtain such drugs.

"I think we're considering that," said Bob Day, an adviser helping Gov. Kathleen Sebelius develop a policy to address the high cost of prescription drugs. "We just have to look at how that's set up."

Imports worry Lawrence pharmacist
Canadian prescription drugs might seem like the cure for what ails the pocketbook, but Tom Wilcox isn't so sure.

Wilcox, owner of Round Corner Drug, 801 Mass., said he was frustrated that the federal government wasn't doing more to block illegal importation of prescription drugs.

"I've had patients import controlled substances from Pakistan," Wilcox said. "There's very little done to regulate importation from a foreign country."

Wilcox trained for six years to become a pharmacist. By contrast, he said, a relative in Iowa with a high school education has set up a lucrative business importing Canadian drugs.

"The FDA has no control in these countries. We lose control of how the drugs are handled," Wilcox said.

"They're probably safe, but the portal is open, and the more we use drugs from other countries, the more we lose control over the process," he said. "I think there's potential down the road for problems to exist."

Online pharmacies full of risks, rewards
If you need a prescription filled, be careful before ordering from an online pharmacy.

We all know that the price of prescription drugs is enough to give you a headache, but don't be so eager to get a price break that you end up with counterfeit drugs, advises the National Consumers League.

According to a survey recently released by NCL, most consumers purchasing prescription drugs by using the Internet don't know how to tell whether the drugs they get are legitimate. The online survey of 1,013 adults ages 18 and older, conducted by Opinion Research Corp. in May, found that more than half of those surveyed believe there is no way to tell if a prescription drug sold online is real or counterfeit.
From the Charlotte (NC) Observer:
Canadian drugs save county cash
Caldwell County's Canadian drug program is on track to save the county about 26 percent of its annual prescription drug bill, officials said last week.

About 10 percent of the county's workforce of 525 has signed up to receive prescription medications from Canadian pharmacies, said Human Resources Director David Hill.

From the Ironton (OH) Tribune:
Importing medication topic of debate
To import or not to import medicines? That is the legal question.

Importation of prescription drugs has become a hot topic this election year, but the debate over the legality of the issue has now hit a little closer to home.

Two local men opened Canadian Med Connection, 509 State St., Proctorville, to help provide people with a choice for cheaper prescription medicines. However, pharmacists and governmental agencies remain adamant that these types of businesses are operating illegally.
From the San Diego Union Tribune:
Drug discount plan seen as ploy to derail import bills
Legislators and consumer advocates criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's drug discount plan yesterday as a decoy intended to thwart their efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs by opening access to Canadian pharmaceuticals.

"Is it a savings? Yes. Is it the best we can do? No," said Assemblyman Dario Frommer, D-Los Angeles, who is sponsoring a bill to set up a state Web site for consumers to buy low-cost Canadian drugs.

From the Canadian Press:
Vermont sues FDA for refusing to allow imports of Canadian drugs
Vermont has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, charging the agency's refusal of the state's petition to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada was "arbitrary and capricious and otherwise unreasonable."

By filing the suit, Vermont has become the first state to take on the U.S. government's stance against so-called drug-reimportation schemes. In such arrangements, state and local governments set up mechanisms by which people can buy name-brand prescriptions from Canadian pharmacies at prices that are often 40 per cent less than they are in the United States.

From the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser:
Pharmacists target import drug company
The Alabama Pharmacy Association has filed a letter of complaint with the U.S. Attorney's Office against a Montgomery man who has started a company to facilitate the purchase of low-cost prescription drugs from Canada.

In a letter dated Aug. 16, William S. Eley II, executive director of the APA, a professional society representing pharmacists, states that Coleman and his company are "promoting the illegal re-importation of Canadian drugs" and asks the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate.
From the Medford (OR) Mail Tribune:
Oregon plan taps drugs from Canada
Gov. Ted Kulongoski unveiled a plan Thursday in Medford that would allow Oregonians to buy drugs from Canada.

The Pioneer Prescription Drug Project would use the Oregon Board of Pharmacy to certify that Canadian drugs meet the same standards of purity and safety that are required for drugs sold in the United States.

At a press conference in the Central Library, Kulongoski said he has sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson requesting a waiver from the federal law that prevents states from importing drugs that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

From the Washington Times:
FDA admonishes city on link to Canadian drugs
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday sent a letter to D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams that criticizes an item on the official D.C. government Web site that directs residents to buy low-cost prescription drugs from Canada.

I want to express our dismay that the government of the nation's capital would initiate a program to import prescription drugs from Canada, in violation of longstanding drug laws," wrote William K. Hubbard, the FDA's associate commissioner for planning and policy.
From the Canadian Press:
Abuse of painkiller puts legitimate use in jeopardy: health group
Widespread publicity on the abuse of prescription drugs such as OxyContin could have devastating results for those who rely on the medication to control crippling pain, says the Canadian Pain Society.

The focus on the illegal use of oxycodone-based drugs is unfairly demonizing the drug, the Toronto-based society said in a news release issued Friday. "Certainly there have been cases of abuse of the drug. But we're worried about throwing the baby out with the bath water," said Gary Rollman, society president, in an interview.

From the Sacramento Bee:
New hurdle for Canadian drug import legislation
A senior Schwarzenegger administration official announced her opposition Thursday to pending state legislation that would help California residents buy prescription drugs from Canada, where price controls make medications up to 80 percent cheaper.

In a letter distributed to several key legislative leaders, Kim Belshé, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said she opposed the efforts to facilitate Canadian drug purchases because the practice violates a federal ban on such imports.
From Reuters:
Firm Agrees to Stop Aiding Prescription Imports
Drug store chain Rx Depot Inc. has promised to abandon its business helping Americans import prescription drugs from Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday.

The company "extremely reluctantly" signed a legally binding agreement that forbids it and two company officers from helping Americans obtain cheaper medicines from abroad, attorney Fred Stoops said.

The FDA had gone to court to stop Rx Depot from operating its stores, which sent Americans' prescriptions to a Canadian pharmacy to be filled. The agency says the practice is risky.

From CNN.com:
Blagojevich's prescription for a winning issue
Defying the federal government is risky for a politician. But if it's the right cause, it can make you look like a hero -- and even get you the political Play of the Week.

This week, Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich took on the feds over the issue of prescription drug imports.

"Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to act. So it's time we do," he declared Tuesday.
From the San Jose Mercury News:
Drug bills are threatened with veto
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration threatened late Thursday that he would veto four bills designed to help Californians buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada unless the measures are amended.

The signal was the administration's first public stance on the populist measures, which have pitted doctors, labor interests and senior citizens against business groups and pharmacists, who are among the governor's top backers.

From the Henderson (KY) Gleaner:
Rhode Island moves ahead on Canadian prescriptions
Rhode Island, acting under a first-in-the-nation state law, is preparing to license Canadian pharmacies to sell prescription drugs.

Rhode Island's new law is the only one in the country that requires the licensing of Canadian pharmacies in the same way mail-order pharmacies located in the United States are licensed.
From the (Portland) Oregonian:
Plan seeks access to Canadian medicines
Uninsured Oregonians would be able to buy low-cost Canadian drugs under a proposal unveiled Thursday by Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

If approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the program would allow Oregon pharmacies to buy certain drugs from Canadian wholesalers and sell them to Oregonians who lack insurance and would have to pay for them out of their own pockets.

Kulongoski said Thursday that the plan would be administered by the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, which would decide on a list of 50 to 60 drugs that are particularly expensive in this country and can be bought more cheaply in Canada.
From the Canadian Press:
U.S. company gives up legal battle over right to help Americans buy drugs
A U.S. company that once helped Americans buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada has agreed to stop operating.

Rx Depot, an Oklahoma firm shut last November by a U.S. federal judge, had been trying to appeal the decision and resume business. But the privately held company agreed to sign a consent decree to permanently cease facilitating drug imports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

From the Canadian Press:
Illinois expands drug suppliers beyond Canada in nod to availability problems
In a nod to the reality that Canada can't begin to provide all the cheaper prescription drugs Americans want, Illinois is adding European suppliers.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Tuesday that he'll help consumers save money through a state-run website offering drugs from the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as Canada. "We can't keep asking people to spend more money than they have just to afford the medicine they need," Blagojevich said in a statement.
From WTVO-TV (IL):
One Woman Has Saved a Ton Ordering Rx's From Canada
Since Rockford resident Arlene Hathaway hopped on a bus to Canada to buy her prescription drugs earlier this year her life has changed dramatically.

"It's allowed me to save money to go on little trips which I couldn't do before there was just no way I just got back from Arkansas visiting my sister it's a big help," says Hathaway.

She now refills her 11 prescriptions through the Canadian pharmacy by phone which has saved her a lot of money.
From the Winnipeg Sun:
Medical errors rising: study
A major overhaul of the hospital system is needed to reduce the number of medical errors, or so-called adverse events, that contribute to the deaths of between 9,000 and 24,000 patients a year, the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association was told yesterday. About one in 13 Canadians admitted to hospital each year experiences an adverse event -- everything from being given the wrong drug to a surgical mistake to falling and breaking a hip, a recent study showed.
From the Providence (RI) Journal:
R.I. communities eye buying prescription drugs from Canada
Several Rhode Island municipalities are considering buying prescription medicines from Canada, and East Providence's mayor is promising there will be Canadian drug sales in his city, in the wake of a new law allowing state licensing of Canadian pharmacies.

At an event today to celebrate the passage of the law, which would not go into effect before January, East Providence Mayor Rolland Grant said the city would have a storefront for a Canadian pharmacy. Drugs from Canada can be as much as 60 percent cheaper than those bought in the United States.

Monday, August 16, 2004

From the Washington Post:
Illinois Governor Launching Program to Reimport Drugs
Despite opposition from a federal agency, Illinois will soon become the nation's first government to help residents buy cheaper drugs not only from Canada but from the United Kingdom and Ireland as well.

In an announcement later today, Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) is scheduled to unveil the program, which will be coordinated and managed for the state by a Canadian pharmacy benefits company.

The move by Blagojevich, who for months has unsuccessfully pressed the federal government for approval to run a pilot drug-reimportation program, significantly escalates the national dispute over the safety and wisdom of buying cheaper prescription drugs from abroad.
From NBC5.com (IL):
Blagojevich To Announce Network To Import Prescription Drugs
Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday plans to announce the creation of a network of pharmacies through which Illinois residents can buy certain prescription drugs from Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom -- even though it is illegal to import such drugs to the United States.

Including pharmacies in Ireland and the United Kingdom means Illinois' network will go beyond what other states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin have offered their residents. Those states have created Web sites that help residents buy prescription drugs from Canada only, Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.
From The Globe and Mail:
McGuinty pushes pharmacare plan to MDs
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty challenged Canada's doctors on Monday to support the call by the nation's premiers for a national pharmacare program to be run by the federal government.

"I'm asking you to back this proposal, to urge MPs, the federal cabinet and the Prime Minister to take the time to consider it fully, so they can embrace it completely," Mr. McGuinty said to the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association in Toronto.
From the Boston Herald:
FDA offers lighter touch on importation of Canadian drugs
Federal drug regulators are taking a ``lighter touch'' in their efforts to stop a growing number of cities and states from importing prescription drugs from Canada, and the city of Boston is taking advantage of that new stance.

Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester M. Crawford, in a recent interview with The Associated Press, said the agency will continue to evaluate programs on a case by case basis. But he noted that many cities and states are using the same Canadian pharmacies and Web sites to fill prescriptions.

``As long as they're coming from Canada, and as long as they're from drug stores that we have some experience with, then we would have a lighter touch probably,'' he said. ``But if it escalates and there are other countries, or if there are some events that occur, that could change over night.''

Sunday, August 15, 2004

From Canada East:
Lord says feds can afford drug program
Premier Bernard Lord expressed disappointment Friday that Prime Minister Paul Martin appears to be rejecting a national pharmacare program that would see the federal government take over responsibility for drug coverage.

The premiers proposed the plan at a July meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., in an effort to have the federal government shoulder more of a financial responsibility for health care.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

From the Winnipeg Sun:
Drug terrorism absurd: Internet group
A suggestion that terrorists may tamper with prescription drugs from Canada destined for the U.S. is "nothing short of absurd," says the head of an Internet pharmacy group. Piece of rhetoric

"This is just one more piece of rhetoric," David MacKay, executive director of the Winnipeg-based Canadian International Pharmacy Association, said yesterday.

"It is a classic scare tactic that comes from the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). They seem to be running out of objections and this seems to be the last card they're willing to play."
From the Portsmouth (NH) Herald:
FDA's denial of import drugs prompts tri-state meeting
Upset over the Food and Drug Administration’s refusal to allow reimportation of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, government leaders in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont are discussing meeting in September.

"Vermont and Maine have both reached out to us," said Alicia Preston, New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson’s spokeswoman. Discussions are under way to set a date for the meeting.
From the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser:
Business helps buy Canadian medicine
Larry Coleman believes American consumers, like the city of Montgomery, need a way to get around the exorbitant prices of many prescription drugs in the United States.

The 15-year resident of the Capital City has started his own company, RxUnlimited.net, to help them do that by obtaining cheaper medications from a Canadian pharmacy.
From the Las Vegas Business Press:
Kerry prescription drug plan could boost local Rx business
In town last week for two and a half days of campaigning, Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry made a myriad of promises in hopes of grabbing the crucial votes of our up-for-grabs state. The most notable promise among senior citizens was the assurance that, if elected president, Kerry would work toward legalizing the importation of Canadian drugs.

Before a gymnasium full of seniors in Henderson, Kerry called on President Bush to "get out of the way of Americans being able to import drugs from Canada at a reasonable price." It is something he said he and other members of Congress, including Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona passed, but Bush stood in the way of because of his allegiance to "his friends" -- the prescription drug manufacturers. Not to worry, Kerry told his audience, "Dr. Kerry is here to cure you all."
From the National Post:
PM won't support premiers' drug plan
Paul Martin said yesterday he had little interest in a proposal that Ottawa take full responsibility for a national pharmacare program, suggesting the recent idea from the provinces is overly simplistic and ignores such priorities as waiting lists and homecare.

The Prime Minister said his government only talked about a pharmacare plan for "catastrophic" or unaffordable drug bills, not the broader plan proposed by the premiers in July.
From the Washington Times:
D.C. warned to stop drug link
The D.C. government was told yesterday to stop directing residents looking for low-cost prescriptions to a Minnesota-sponsored plan that helps people buy drugs from Canada.

"Our contracts with the pharmacies in Canada are very specific that they're for Minnesota customers only," said Daniel McElroy, chief of staff for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. "Our contract does not permit us to have another government linking to the site."

Friday, August 13, 2004

From the Calgary Herald:
Prime minister gives premiers' pharmacare proposal cold shoulder
Prime Minister Paul Martin cold-shouldered the idea of a national pharmacare plan Thursday, suggesting the proposal from Canada's premiers was too costly.

The health system faces too many pressures in various areas for the government to pour all that money into one new program, the prime minister suggested.

The government supports a smaller-scale drug plan but also wants to use available funding to reduce waiting lists by creating a national home-care program and training more doctors, he said.
From the Washington Times:
Kerry pushes for Canada drug imports
Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry yesterday called for President Bush to disavow his signature Medicare prescription drug program and allow for medicine to be imported from Canada.

"I call on the president to do what he should have done in the first place. I call on the president to get out of the way of Americans being able to import drugs from Canada at a lower price," Mr. Kerry told about 800 elderly Nevadans at a town hall forum.
From the Portland (ME) Morning Sentinel:
FDA fears terrorists may alter drugs
Tampering with prescription drugs could be a way for terrorists to launch an attack on Americans, acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester M. Crawford said Wednesday.

Crawford said in an interview with The Associated Press that possible action by terrorists was the most serious of his concerns about the increasing efforts of states and cities to import drugs from Canada to save money.
From the Grand Forks (ND) Herald:
Canadian pharmacies fill U.S. orders overseas
A drugmaker boycott has led some Canadian mail-order pharmacies to forge partnerships with pharmacies in 10 other countries to sell low-cost drugs to customers in the United States.

In the past two months, at least five Canadian firms have arranged to fill U.S. orders for prescription drugs through pharmacies in Israel, Chile, Australia, England, France, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark and Italy, the Star Tribune reported Thursday. The orders usually are shipped directly to customers from one of those countries.
From the Boston Herald:
Vt. will sue over drugs: FDA nixes state's request to buy low-cost medicine from Canada
Vermont leaders plan to pave the way for buying cheaper drugs from Canada by suing federal regulators who refuse to allow the state to set up such a program.

The lawsuit, which officials plan to file this week, charges that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wrongfully denied a waiver to Vermont that would have allowed the state to legally buy drugs.

```The claims on which they've based this denial are, in our view, unsubstantiated and we have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies available,'' said Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

From Health Canada:
Health Canada advises of potential adverse effects of SSRIs and other anti-depressants on newborns
Health Canada is advising Canadians that newborns may be adversely affected when pregnant women take Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and other newer anti-depressants during the third trimester of pregnancy. This advisory is intended to increase awareness among mothers and physicians of the possible symptoms that may occur in the newborn, so that symptoms can be recognized and addressed quickly.
From MLive.com (Mich.):
Kerry says Bush is blocking drug imports from Canada
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said President Bush is standing in the way of lower drug prices for cash-strapped seniors by refusing to allow prescription imports from Canada.

Kerry launched a new push for support from senior citizens by trying to persuade them that Bush will hurt their bottom line with his prescription drug policies and efforts to privatize Social Security.

Kerry said Bush is standing in the way of bipartisan efforts in Congress to allow drug imports from Canada. He compared the prices of popular drugs in the United States and Canada, noting they were close to more than twice as expensive stateside.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

From the Washington Times:
City links to Canadian drugs
The D.C. government is directing residents seeking low-cost prescription drugs to a Minnesota-sponsored program that shows them how to buy drugs from Canadian pharmacies — a purchase that violates federal law.

The District recently posted on its Web site (www.dc.gov) an item titled "Get Low Cost Prescription Drugs from Canada," which links to a Minnesota plan called Minnesota RxConnect. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared the program unsafe.
From the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune:
FDA finds violations by Canadian pharmacies
Three Canadian pharmacies continued to send unauthorized medication to Wisconsin residents even though state officials warned them this spring the shipments violated an agreement to sell discounted drugs through a state Web site, according to federal officials.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has criticized the state Web site that tells consumers how to order from the pharmacies, said in a letter to Gov. Jim Doyle that the violation is further evidence of the health risk imported Canadian drugs pose to Wisconsin residents.
From the London Free Press
Pregnant women warned of danger in using anti-depressant medicine
Women who take anti-depressant drugs during late pregnancy may be putting their babies at risk, Health Canada is warning. The department has issued an advisory about the following drugs: bupropion (used for depression or for smoking cessation), citalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, mirtazapine, paroxetine, sertraline and venlafaxine. The brand names involved are Zyban, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Prozac, Luvox, Remeron, Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor.
From the Bennington (VT) Banner
State to sue feds on meds
Spurned in their request for federal permission to allow importing prescription drugs from Canada, top state officials said Tuesday they plan to sue the Food and Drug Administration.

"Vermont presented a legal and responsible plan to import prescription drugs," Gov. James Douglas said in a statement. He said the FDA's reasons for rejecting the state's request for permission "are unsubstantiated and we have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies available."
From MSN:
Are prescriptions filled in Canada safe?
It started with modest troops of silver-haired bus-trippers crossing the border into Canada to save 30% or more on Pravachol and Prevacid. Illegal, yes, but who would begrudge Granny's trying to keep her medicines affordable? Now it's escalated into a full-scale election-year war involving people of all ages attempting to save on medicines of all kinds. Seniors’ groups, mayors, governors and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are pressing to legalize what an estimated 1 million Americans are already doing openly -- filling millions of prescriptions a year north of the border.
From WOKR-TV (NY):
Buying Drugs From Canada Could Save County Millions
Some Monroe County lawmakers think one way to prevent a tax increase (or cuts in services) is by purchasing prescription drugs from Canada where costs are half of what they are in the United States.

On Tuesday, the president of CanaRx--a Canadian drug distribution company--presented a plan to county legislators. While both Democrats and Republicans are convinced that bringing in Canadian prescription drugs can save taxpayers millions, some Republicans challenge the legality of the move.
From the Canadian Press:
Toronto pharmacy uses Bahamas to export drugs, FedEx alerts U.S. customs
A Toronto pharmacy began sending out new shipments this week to replace prescription drugs seized by U.S. Customs officials in Miami.

CanadaRx, based in Toronto, shipped the drugs valued at $250,000 US about two weeks ago. The drugs seized July 27 came from England, Germany, Switzerland, France, New Zealand and Australia, as well as Canada, and were shipped from Freeport, the Bahamas, in an attempt by CanadaRx to duck Canadian laws prohibiting a pharmacy from importing drugs, then selling them abroad, the Star Tribune reported.
From the Tampa Bay Business Journal:
Rx Processing buys Canada Drugs
Rx Processing Corp. said it has wrapped up its purchase of Canada Drugs of Spring Hill.

Rx Processing issued 5 million shares of common stock for 100 percent control of Canada Drugs. Rx Processing stock is valued at 20 cents a share, according to the OTC Bulletin Board, making the deal worth $1 million.
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Vermont seeks to import Canada drugs
Vermont says it will become the first state to sue the Food and Drug Administration for denying its request to import prescription drugs from Canada.

"Vermont presented a legal and responsible plan to import prescription drugs," Gov. James Douglas said in a statement Tuesday. He said the FDA's reasons for rejecting the state's request for permission "are unsubstantiated and we have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies available."

Sunday, August 08, 2004

From the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times:
Group says Canadian drugs safe
Prescription drugs purchased through Canadian Internet pharmacies are safe, members of a legislative fact-finding mission to that country said Wednesday.

At a press conference here, delegation members endorsed the idea of a state-sponsored Web site that would help California residents purchase cheap Canadian drugs. In doing so, they forcefully disputed U.S. Food and Drug Administration assertions that consumers who order drugs through Canada are taking big risks.
From the Tri-Valley Herald (Calif.):
Senators aim to lower drug costs
Due to the recent state budget battle, East Bay Democratic senators Don Perata and Liz Figueroa missed a legislative trek to Canada -- but that didn't stop them from renewing their controversial call Wednesday for importing less costly prescription drugs from that country.

The move was part of strategy by majority Democrats to make the issue one of their top priorities for August, the last month of the 2004 legislative session.
From WIS-TV (SC):
DeMint supports buying cheaper drugs from Canada, Tenenbaum agrees
Republican Senate candidate Jim DeMint says he supports allowing people to buy cheaper prescription drugs in Canada.

The three-term congressman says he wants to open US markets to prescription drug sales from Canada, the European Union and other nations. He sponsored a bill in the House last year, but it stalled in the Senate.
From the Toronto Star:
Drug plan's future?
Earlier this year, the Ontario government dipped its toes in treacherous political waters when it issued a pre-budget discussion paper that hinted at ending the free prescription drug program for higher income seniors.

The newly elected Liberal government was grappling with a budget deficit that would top out at about $6 billion and was desperately searching for ways to save money.

Prescription drugs for anyone over 65 in Ontario are virtually free after a $100 deductible and a small dispensing fee are paid by the user. Seniors with incomes of less than $16,000 do not pay any deductible.
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Senators push for bill to allow drug imports
To cut soaring prescription drug costs, particularly for senior citizens, Wisconsin's two Democratic U.S. Senators called Friday for approval of a Senate bill that would legalize the importation of cheaper drugs from Canada.

Speaking at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee, before a crowd of 100 that included many AARP members sporting red T-shirts with slogans supporting importation, the senators said sales of cheaper Canadian drugs would force pharmaceutical companies to lower domestic prices.
From WOKR-TV (NY):
County Dems Investigate Buying Drugs From Canada
Democrats in the Monroe County legislature are investigating the possibility of buying prescription drugs through Canada in hopes of closing the county's budget gap.

They've scheduled a meeting for Tuesday with the head of a Canadian drug distribution company, CanaRx, who will present information on how they can save money by buying Canadian drugs.
From the Globe and Mail:
Economist calls for national pharmacare plan
Canada could reap huge savings by adopting a national pharmacare plan, a prominent health economist says.

“We are idiots to be dealing with [drug purchasing] the way we are in this country,” Armine Yalnizyan, research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said in an interview.
From the New Orleans Times Picayune:
Canadian drug firm is banned
A state court has ordered NorthCareDrugs.com, a company that helps customers order drugs from Canada, to stop doing business in Louisiana.

Judge Robert Murphy of the 24th Judicial District issued an injunction against NorthCare on Friday that prohibits the company from practicing pharmacy in the state until it has obtained the necessary license, registration and permit.

The injunction is the latest development in a months-long effort by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy to shut down kiosks and storefronts selling cheap Canadian pharmaceuticals.
Business Still Up At Canada Drug
Four months ago, when Canada Drug in Sioux Falls opened it's doors there was plenty of interest in it's promise of cheaper prescriptions through Canada. There were also plenty of questions about whether the business was even legal. But those doors are still open and business is booming. And that fact, it's owner says, should erase any questions still lingering about Canada Drug and the legality of its operation.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

From the Boston Herald:
FDA's warning doesn't bother Boston: Canadian pharmacy has city's confidence
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and city officials shrugged off yesterday the latest FDA warning about the safety of importing and distributing drugs from Canada.

More than 840 applications to join Menino's Canadian drug-buying program have been handed out, city officials said.

In a letter detailed in yesterday's Herald, the federal Food and Drug Administration told Menino that the Canadian pharmacy set to supply Boston has broken similar agreements with Wisconsin.
From the Calgary Sun:
U.S. fights local pharmacy
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has pointed the finger at a Calgary-based Internet pharmacy in its fight against the cross-border prescription drug industry. But the Alberta Pharmacists Association spokesperson who has toured Total Care Pharmacy's site said there's nothing wrong with its practices.

"I saw dedicated pharmacists that enjoyed practising in a different setting and were committed to patient care," said Peggy Berndt.

She said what's led to Internet pharmacies is elevated drug prices in the U.S. -- and that's an American responsibility.
From the Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune:
Board wins order against business selling Canadian drugs
The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy obtained a temporary injunction Friday banning the Canadian owners of a suburban New Orleans store from selling inexpensive prescription drugs.

The board went after NorthCareDrugs.com, claiming that the company's Kenner store is acting as a pharmacy without the proper state permit.

But the company said the store is acting as a broker between individuals and pharmacies and is itself not a pharmacy.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Freom the Globe and Mail:
Theft alarms Net drug buyers
The theft and attempted sale of private patient information from a Manitoba Internet pharmacy has sparked calls for more regulation and monitoring.

"Peoples' confidence is getting shaken," said Marilyn Aulson, who runs a business in Massachusetts that connects seniors to Internet pharmacies in Canada. People need to feel safe or they won't do this."

Last week, a letter was sent to pharmacies around Manitoba in which a Florida-based company solicits buyers for the names and drug information of 32,600 U.S. patients. All bought prescription drugs on-line through a Winnipeg Internet company called CanadaDrugs.com.
From the Miami Herald:
Canada feels squeeze from drug makers
Because of strong resistance from major pharmaceutical manufacturers, presidential candidate's John Kerry's plan to enable Americans to buy cheaper drugs abroad may not be as easy as he envisions.

The reason is that many of the large manufacturers, led by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, have cut off a huge chunk of the international traffic by reducing supplies to Canada.

That has left Canadian pharmacies looking around the world to find drugs, adding a third party to what is already a complicated international transaction.
From the Boston Herald:
FDA ``troubled'' over Boston program to buy prescription drugs from Canada
Federal regulators told Mayor Thomas Menino they are ``troubled'' by Boston's decision to join the list of cities allowing city workers and retirees to buy prescription drugs from Canada.

The Food and Drug Administration, reiterating concerns it raised late last year, sent Menino a letter Wednesday reiterating concerns that the program could put citizens at risk from drugs of unknown origin and quantity.

The letter, from William K. Hubbard, the agency's associate commissioner for policy and planning, said, ``We are troubled that you would actively promote such unproven and unregulated drugs to your employees and retirees.''

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

From the Globe and Mail:
Proposal may speed drug approvals, group says
Canada's generic drug makers say a proposal to put pharmacare in federal hands could streamline the process of bringing their products to market, reducing pharmaceutical costs.

Jim Keon, president of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, said there are obvious financial incentives for Ottawa to get cheaper generic drugs on the shelves faster if it is paying the bill.
Provinces asked Ottawa for more pharmacare than promised, McGuinty admits
The national pharmacare program Canada's premiers are urging on Ottawa goes beyond what the federal Liberals promised during the recent election campaign, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty conceded Tuesday.

"I think in fairness to them, they did not commit to a full scope, national pharmacare program of the scope that we have proposed as premiers," McGuinty said. "But they certainly took a very big step in that direction."
From the Canadian Press:
Nfld. report recommends release police access health info to combat drug abuse
Police should have access to the confidential health information of drug addicts suspected of illegally obtaining prescription drugs, says a Newfoundland task force on the abuse of the powerful painkiller OxyContin.

In a report released in St. John's on Tuesday, the task force recommended the provincial cabinet authorize health officials to release to police information on individuals suspected of criminal activity to feed their drug habit. "Currently the police are limited in their ability to initiate investigations and access information," said Justice Minister Tom Marshall.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

From GlobeSt.com:
Canadian Firm Picks Up 1,549 Drug Stores
The locally based international drugstore chain the Jean Coutu Group Inc. has completed the acquisition of approximately 1,549 Eckerd drugstores and support facilities in the Eastern US for about $2.5 billion (including $112 million in closing costs). The seller was JCPenney Co. Inc., which concurrently closed on the sale of another 1,260 Eckerd stores to CVS Corp. for $2.1 billion.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

From the Montreal Gazette:
Pharmacare leaves patients vulnerable, rights group says
The premiers' demands for a federal pharmacare program to replace the existing provincial drug plans were met with a weary disdain by a local patients' rights group yesterday.

Paul Brunet of the Conseil pour la protection des malades accused the premiers of engaging in political ego-stroking instead of concrete action.
From the Toronto Star:
Premiers push national drug plan
Canada's premiers are proposing a national pharmacare program they say is a "visionary" attempt to improve medicare for future generations.

At the conclusion of their annual meeting here yesterday, the premiers and territorial leaders called on the federal government to assume control of billions of dollars' worth of prescription drugs with the creation of a national program to pay drug costs for seniors and welfare recipients as well as people facing so-called "catastrophic" drug bills.
From the Globe and Mail:
Drug makers unlikely to embrace new proposal
A proposal for a national pharmacare program will not win immediate endorsement from drug companies, a leading health expert says.

Michael Dector, chairman of the newly formed Health Council of Canada, said a national prescription drug program could limit points of access for Canadian pharmaceutical companies to have their drugs approved and funded.
From the Globe and Mail:
Drug plan fraught with pitfalls, Alberta health-policy experts say
A proposal for the biggest expansion in public health care in decades met a cool response yesterday in Alberta, where private-sector involvement is at the top of government plans for reform.

A call by the premiers, including Alberta's Ralph Klein, for a national pharmacare program would only add confusion to the system, health-policy experts said.
From the Naples (FL) News:
Halsteds fight state over Canadian prescription business
We are not a pharmacy or a drugstore," states the answering machine at the business that was once called Canadian/RX Prescription Services.

The declaration has become a crucial one for the Halsted family. One June 19, the Florida Department of Health served a cease and desist order to the family's business at 4267 Bonita Beach Road. Eleven other stores also got notices. All engaged in the same line of work: connecting Floridians to Canadian pharmacies.
From CBC.ca:
Premiers propose drug plan paid for by Ottawa
Canada's premiers and territorial leaders have unanimously agreed to create a national pharmacare program – but they want Ottawa to pay for it.

The leaders say they'll also ask Ottawa to increase its share of all other health-care spending to 25 per cent of the total at the federal-provincial health-care summit in September.

Ottawa now pays for about 16 per cent of health-care costs.
From CBC Manitoba:
Doer praises national pharmacare idea
Premier Gary Doer is calling the idea of a national pharmacare program both visionary and sensible.

Canada's premiers and territorial leaders ended their annual meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario by announcing they want the federal government to start paying their prescription drug bills.

Manitoba's premier says Ottawa already does a lot of the work in regulating prescription drugs.
From the Globe and Mail:
How the door to national pharmacare swung open
This was no precooked communiqué. The electrifying decision by Canada's premiers to ask the federal government to establish a national pharmacare program was not even on the agenda when provincial and territorial leaders first met on Thursday morning.

The idea had occurred earlier to several of the leaders. British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell raised the subject with Ontario's Dalton McGuinty in a meeting a week ago in Vancouver. But it was only an ill-defined germ of an idea when the Ontario Premier convened the annual premiers conference two days ago in the elegant Queen's Landing Inn overlooking the Niagara River.
From the Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle:
Canadian drug program starts slowly in Pittsfield
The city's foray into Canada in search of cheaper prescription drugs is off to a slow start, hindered by the delayed release of information to the eligible employees and retirees.

As of July 1, the first day of this fiscal year, every city employee and retiree covered by Pittsfield's health plan has been able to order many brand-name prescription drugs from a Canadian pharmacy, CanAm Health Source of Montreal.