Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bulk drug export nixed

From the Winnipeg Sun:
An Internet pharmacy expert warns a federal plan to ban the bulk export of prescription drugs "when necessary" appears harmless on the surface, but the devil may be in the details.

David MacKay, a consultant to a number of mail-order pharmacies, said it's unclear how Ottawa will define bulk.

"We have to be concerned this is a poison pill being slid under the door," MacKay said yesterday. He noted Internet-based pharmacies generally don't sell prescription drugs in bulk quantities. ...more

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dosanjh lays out long-awaited plan for Internet pharmacy, more action likely this fall

From the Canadian Press:
Canada's Internet pharmacy industry breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday as the federal health minister chose monitoring and consultation over the immediate crackdown many have feared for months.

But Ujjal Dosanjh's lack of specifics during a news conference in Ottawa has left stakeholders divided as to just how long the reprieve will last. ...more

Gravol, children’s Aspirin coming off the shelves of corner stores

From the Charlottetown Guardian:
Certain non-prescription drugs like Gravol, extra strength Advil and children’s Aspirin are about to disappear from the shelves of corner stores in Prince Edward Island.

The province has adopted strict new rules on which drugs can be sold where.

Neila Auld, registrar with the Prince Edward Island Pharmacy Board, says the changes are being made for patient safety. ...more

Hope replacing confidence on Canadian drug plan

From the (Gaithersburg, MD) Business Gazette:
Only four months ago, Montgomery County officials confidently believed county employees would be pocketing savings by now by importing their prescriptions from Canada.

Now, the county is crossing its fingers that it can sign a border-crossing contract before the summer recess, which begins Aug. 1.

"It's a 'when' question, not an 'if' question," said council President Thomas E. Perez, one of the chief proponents of the plan. ...more

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Stockpiling of costly flu drug would save money in pandemic setting: study

From the Canadian Press:
Despite the steep initial outlay, governments would save money by stockpiling the antiviral drug oseltamivir as a hedge against a future influenza pandemic, a study suggests.

The study, based on mathematical modelling, argues as long as there is a flu pandemic at least once every 80 years, governments could save their economies more than $3.50 for every $1 they invested in the drug. ...more

Friday, June 24, 2005

Study suggests importing drugs may work in U.S

From the Washington Times:
Acquiring drugs from other countries has worked in the European Union, a sign it could work here with Canada and the EU, according to an AARP report released yesterday.

The Seniors Coalition opposed the idea and said doing so will endanger Americans' lives.

Both groups agree drug costs must be reduced; states and individuals already have started buying drugs from Canada. Seniors on fixed incomes are one of the groups least likely to be able to afford rising prescription drug costs. ...more

Pharmacy accused of dispensing fake drugs allowed to stay open under trustee

From the Canadian Press:
A pharmacy believed to be the first in Canada to dispense fake drugs is being allowed to stay open under the eye of a trustee.

An Ontario Superior Court has also approved an agreement requiring a complete change of inventory at Hamilton's King West Pharmacy.

Police, Ontario's coroner and the body that regulates the province's pharmacists are investigating amid concerns that at least two patients may have died after taking bogus medication. ...more

Pharmacists concerned by bill on Candian drugs

From KCEN-TV (TX):
The federal government is warning Governor Rick Perry that he'll be breaking the law and putting the lives of Texans in danger in he goes forward with a plan to make getting prescription drugs from Canada easier.

But concern is also coming from some local pharmacists, who say this bill is a prescription for danger. ...more

Coroner probes whether six Ontario deaths related to counterfeit drugs

From the Canadian Press:
Ontario's regional coroner for Hamilton has increased to six the number of deaths being probed for possible links to counterfeit heart drugs allegedly dispensed at a local pharmacy.

Dr. David Eden says he anticipates there will be an investigation into whether the most recent death is related to allegations that fake tablets of the heart drug Norvasc were dispensed at the King West Pharmacy in Hamilton. ...more

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Quebec's pharmacists order appeals to Supreme Court

From the Montreal Gazette:
The Quebec Order of Pharmacists has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear its case for wider powers to investigate drug company kickbacks.

Jocelyn Binet, the order's chief investigator, also known as the syndic, said yesterday the order filed an application Friday to be heard by the top court. ...more

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Health Canada advises consumers about important safety information on atypical antipsychotic drugs and dementia

From Health Canada:
Health Canada is advising Canadians about the risks to elderly patients suffering from dementia, who take second-generation antipsychotic medications, also referred to as atypical antipsychotics.

The advice is based on recent studies showing that elderly demented patients prescribed second-generation antipsychotic medications had a 1.6 greater death rate than those patients taking placebos (sugar pills). ...more

Health experts at Chinese conference say schizophrenia drug cures SARS

From the Canadian Press:
A drug used to treat schizophrenia has been shown to prevent and treat severe acute respiratory syndrome, according to Chinese and European experts at a conference in China, the government said Sunday.

Cinanserin was found to inhibit the coronavirus that causes the deadly flu-like SARS, which first emerged in the country's south in late 2002, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The finding was announced by experts attending a meeting of the Sino-European Project on SARS Diagnostics and Antivirals in the coastal city of Hangzhou. ...more

Monday, June 20, 2005

Nevada to help consumers buy drugs from Canada

From the Las Vegas Sun:
Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn has signed a bill that helps consumers buy prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies, adding Nevada to the list of states in open revolt against the Bush administration's drug importation policies.

Nevada will begin inspecting and licensing Canadian pharmacies, which will then be listed on a state-run Web site. Eight states and the District of Columbia operate similar programs. ...more

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Bush visit highlights divide over prescription drugs

From In Forum (N.Dak.):
Gov. Tim Pawlenty shared a limousine ride with President Bush on the way to a community center Friday where Bush would tout his Medicare prescription drug benefit.

But a spokesman said Pawlenty didn't bring up his own alternative to high drug prices: Canadian imports. ...more

FDA approves new antibiotic - good news in fight against drug-resistant bugs

From the Canadian Press:
The U.S. government approved a new antibiotic Thursday to give hospitals another weapon against tough-to-treat infections.

Tygacil, known chemically as tigecycline, is an intravenous antibiotic, for use in treating complicated abdominal and skin infections in adults.

New antibiotics are urgently needed because bacteria are evolving to resist the effects of commonly used medications. ...more

Study finds seniors pay more for generic drugs than in U.S., less for brand names

From the Canadian Press:
A report from the Fraser Institute think-tank says senior citizens face higher prices for generic drugs but lower prices for brand-name drugs in Canada than in the United States.

"Canadian seniors pay 64 per cent more, on average, than American seniors for generic versions of drugs that are among the most recommended by physicians for patients aged 65 years and older," the free-market institute said Thursday. ...more

R.I. Draft Rules for Importing Canadian Drugs Include Product Liability

From the Insurance Journal:
The Rhode Island Health Department has drafted guidelines that would govern drug imports from Canada, and help ensure the medications meet quality and safety standards in Rhode Island.

The proposed rules would be another step toward allowing the state to license Canadian pharmacies. ...more

Heat on pharmacy that sold phony drug

From the National Post:
The Ontario College of Pharmacists has filed a court order to close down a Hamilton pharmacy that was allegedly selling fake heart medication.

On Wednesday, police raided the King West Pharmacy in Hamilton and seized an unknown quantity of pills that were counterfeit versions of Norvasc, a potentially life-saving heart drug. ...more

Group wants Plan B moved from behind counter

From CBC Prince Edward Island:
P.E.I.'s Advisory Council on the Status of Women wants the so-called morning-after pill to be sold from drug store shelves.

The province recently adopted national drug schedules. That means the drug levonorgestrel, sold under the brand name Plan B, will available for sale directly from pharmacies. However, the drug will be kept behind the counter, so women will need to ask a pharmacist for it, but no prescription is required. ...more

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Counterfeit heart medication seized from Hamilton pharmacy by police

From the Canadian Press:
Police seized an unknown quantity of counterfeit heart medication from a local pharmacy Wednesday in what investigators say could be part of a disturbing and growing trend in medicinal counterfeiting in Canada.

The counterfeit versions of Norvasc, a heart drug, were seized from the King West Pharmacy in Hamilton and police have since identified a number of patients who unwittingly purchased the pills, investigators said in a release Thursday. ...more

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Health Department Drafts Rules For Importing Canadian Drugs

From News Channel 10 (RI):
The state Department of Health has drafted guidelines that would govern drug imports from Canada, and help ensure the medications meet quality and safety standards in Rhode Island.

The proposed rules would be another step toward allowing the state to license Canadian pharmacies.

Under the proposed regulations, Canadian pharmacies would be allowed to ship only drugs that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and to follow FDA rules regarding the processing and handling of drugs. They'd also need to document where the drugs were manufactured. ...more

Monday, June 13, 2005

McKenna says U.S. can't look to Canada to solve its prescription drug problem

From the Canadian Press:
The United States would be making a mistake to expect Canada to solve America's problems of providing low-cost prescription drugs for U.S. consumers, Canada's ambassador to the country said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Frank McKenna said that the Canadian government felt caught in the middle in the current debate in Washington over whether to expand the ability import prescription drugs from Canada, where they sell for less than in the United States. ...more

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Internet pharmacies see consolidation as solution for industry, Canadians

From CBC News:
The political uncertainty surrounding Canada's Internet pharmacy industry has spawned some practical business realities in the last six months - fewer players, zero growth and, in some cases, no actual drug dispensing.

But even as the industry watches overseas pharmacies and suppliers carve out a bigger piece of a growing global market for cheaper prescription drugs for U.S. patients, it remains determined to survive in some form.

Just as determined, however, are opponents who see a federal crackdown as the only protection against potential drug shortages and price increases in Canada. ...more

Texans may get to buy prescription drugs from Canada

From News 8 Austin (Tex.):
An estimated 1 million Americans buy their prescription drugs online from Canadian pharmacies.

A handful of state governments are helping consumers make those purchases and Texas could be next.

Luke Metzger with the Texas Public Interest Research Group said consumers are turning to our northern neighbor for a simple reason. ...more

Friday, June 10, 2005

Report: U.S. drug pricing critic is exiled on job at Pfizer

From CNN:
A critic of the drug industry's pricing policy is facing virtual corporate exile at Pfizer, according to a published report.

Peter Rost, a vice president for marketing at Pfizer, the world's largest drug company, appeared on the CBS show "60 Minutes" Sunday to criticize U.S. drug prices compared with prices in Canada and countries in Europe.

The New York Times said that his corporate e-mail and cell phone accounts were shut off on Monday.

"This is like being in some kind of corporate twilight zone," Rost told the paper Tuesday. "I guess everybody's waiting for me to get fired." ...more

Ottawa gathering ideas on best way to disclose results of drug-testing trials

From the Canadian Press:
Next week, the federal Health Ministry will begin gathering input on how to create a registry of clinical trials that test new drugs and on the best way to disclose the results to Canadians.

Clinical trials are studies that provide scientific evidence of a drug's quality, safety and efficacy in humans. They consider such questions as whether a drug is safe, what dosages are most effective and what side effects a drug may cause. ...more

Total drug costs higher in Canada than most industrial countries: report

From the Canadian Press:
Canada spends more of its health budget on drugs than almost every other industrialized country, says a new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

And Canada was below average in the number of doctors, MRIs and CT scanners available.

Only the United States and France spent more per person on pharmaceuticals in 2003, the report said. ...more

New shot fired in Net drug battle

From the Globe and Mail:
Alberta as South Africa, Quebec as India and Manitoba as Vietnam?

That's the way drug maker GlaxoSmithKline depicts the map of Canada in an edgy new magazine ad aimed at dissuading millions of Americans from ordering cheap drugs from Internet pharmacies.

"Are you buying medicine from north of the border or east of the border?," the company asks in the ad now running in Time and Newsweek, as well as major U.S. daily newspapers. ...more

Minnesota adds access to British pharmacies

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Minnesotans now can order prescription drugs from Britain as well as Canada through the state's Internet drug program, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Thursday.

He said he expanded the program to ensure that Minnesotans will have access to low-cost drugs if pharmaceutical companies or the Canadian government choke off the Canadian mail-order trade. ...more

New rules govern drug sales

From CBC Prince Edward Island:
After a decade of wrangling, the province has adopted national drug guidelines that may see you asking the pharmacist for medication you used to buy off the shelf.

There are three categories (called schedules) of drugs in Canada. And with the new guidelines all Island pharmacies will now be subject to rules covering the way they sell them. ...more

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Berea grandmother's imported prescription seized

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Adele Howard bought prescription drugs from a Canadian pharmacy for three years without a single glitch until her medicine didn't show up three weeks ago.

Instead, the 78-year-old Berea grandmother got a letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, whose inspectors had seized the package at a Chicago mail facility.

And they gave her 20 days to explain why the government should not send it back. ...more

New cancer drug limited to few

From the Globe and Mail:
A breakthrough breast-cancer drug is available in Canada, but not to thousands of women whose lives could likely be saved by it.

The drug trastuzumab, sold under the name Herceptin, is covered by provincial health plans when used to lengthen the lives of those with incurable breast cancer, but not for women in the earlier stages of the disease who see it as the next best thing to a cure. ...more

Health Canada warns consumers not to use growth hormone supplement

From the Canadian Press:
Health Canada issued a warning to consumers Tuesday not to use a product labeled GHR-15 or GHR that is sold as a treatment for a wide variety of diseases including cancer and multiple sclerosis.

The department said labelling for the product - purported to be a human growth hormone supplement - makes unsubstantiated health claims. It suggested users risk developing hyperthyroidism as well as possible interactions and allergic reactions by taking the product. ...more

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Nevada governor to sign bill allowing Internet purchase of Canadian drugs

From the Canadian Press:
Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn said Tuesday he will sign a politically charged bill to allow state residents to use the Internet to buy prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.

Nevada joins eight other states in offering residents access to pharmacies in Canada, which sell prescription drugs at lower costs than in the United States. "I said I was going to sign it unless I find something wrong with it," Guinn said after adjournment of a special session during which legislator authorized the prescription drug plan. ...more

Monday, June 06, 2005

Pharmacy has bigger health plans

From the London (Ont.) Free Press:
A large new pharmacy-medical centre on Wonderland Road is being promoted as a future model for delivering health-care service and products.

The London Care Centre is a 30,000-square-foot facility that combines a Rexall Pharma Plus pharmacy with a medical centre that will include six physicians and an urgent care clinic as well as dentists, physiotherapists, audiologists and laboratory services. ...more

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Drug bill may win OK today

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:
A bill to help Nevadans buy lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada is expected to win final approval today.

A Senate-Assembly conference committee reached an agreement Saturday to remove a Senate-backed amendment that would have required federal approval of the plan.

Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, contended that the amendment would kill the bill because the federal government opposes importing Canadian drugs and will never give its consent. ...more

Nevada Canadian drugs bill will go to conference committee

From the Las Vegas Sun:
The Nevada Senate refused Friday to remove an amendment from a bill that would allow Nevadans to buy lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada through a state-run Web site.

The Senate's refusal will send AB195 to a conference committee, where senators and Assembly members will try to work out their differences. If they don't, the bill will die. And even if the measure survives, it's possible Gov. Kenny Guinn could veto it because of his concerns about its legality. ...more

Friday, June 03, 2005

Ban Urged on Canadian Bulk Drug Exports

From the Washington Post:
Canada's parliamentary health committee, nervously eyeing U.S. legislative moves to buy cheap Canadian drugs, has called for a ban on the bulk exports of foreign-made pharmaceuticals.

A Conservative motion passed Thursday afternoon with the support of three of Parliament's four parties, including the governing Liberal Party. It would curb bulk drug exports only and would not ban sales to individuals by Internet pharmacies. ...more

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Official: Proposed regulations may hamstring licensing process for Canadian pharmacies

From the Pawtucket (RI) Times:
If new regulations proposed for licensing pharmacies from Canada to sell drugs in Rhode Island are approved, a top Health Department official said Wednesday, "I would be very surprised to see anyone from Canada get licensed.

"That is not our intent," Don Williams, associate director for health services regulation, was quick to add, but that may nonetheless be the result. ...more

Pharmacist humbled by award

From the Thunder Bay (Ont.) Chronicle Journal:
Janet McCutchon is simply “outstanding,” and there’s a plaque to prove it.

The 43-year-old Thunder Bay woman has been declared Pharmacist of the Year by the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association for outstanding service to her profession.

She is the first person from Thunder Bay to receive the award, which has been given out since the late 1960s. Seven other nominees were considered. ...more

Lawsuit filed against Canada drug company

From the Aberdeen (SD) News:
The South Dakota Board of Pharmacy has sued a Sioux Falls store that helps people buy prescription drugs imported from Canada on grounds it is not licensed to do business in the state.

The board filed the complaint on Tuesday against Canada Services, formerly known as Canada Drug.

The lawsuit marks the second against the company in four months. In February, Jewett Drug Co. Inc., which sells medications to South Dakota pharmacies, sued the company. ...more