Sunday, July 31, 2005

What sedative could be behind hospital terror?

From the Alberta Daily Herald Tribune:
More than 25 different sedative-type drugs, including the date-rape drug Rohypnol, could be the one used to terrorize fourth-floor staff at Grande Prairie's QEII hospital, says an Alberta pharmaceutical expert.

For the past 16 months, there have been more than 20 reports of staff on the floor experiencing dizziness, memory loss and having to go home and sleep for hours. Union officials have said that at least three staff members have tested positive for a drug in their system. Peace Country Health has told staff members not to share their food and drink or leave it unattended. RCMP are investigating. ...more

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Beta blockers don't help low-risk patients after non-cardiac surgery: study

From the Canadian Press:
New research raises concerns about the popular practice of giving most heart patients drugs that reduce the heart's workload before and after major surgery.

Guidelines recommend giving beta blocker pills to people at high risk of heart problems if they are undergoing non-cardiac surgery. But hospitals routinely prescribe the drugs to most heart patients, even those at lower risk of complications, who are having an operation. Researchers found that low-risk patients given the drugs were significantly more likely to die. ...more

Study finds Echinacea doesn't help colds

From CTV News:
It's long been touted as an ideal drug-free way to fend off the common cold. But a new study suggests that Echinacea is better at boosting hopes than it is at boosting the immune system.

The U.S. study found that patients who take the popular herbal remedy fare no better than those who take a dummy treatment. ...more

Quebec to fund costly breast cancer drug

From CBC Montreal:
Quebec is one of three provinces which will pay for expanded use of the expensive cancer-fighting drug Herceptin.

In May, clinical trial results suggested Herceptin (Trastuzumab) in addition to traditional chemotherapy can prevent recurrence of breast cancer and improve overall survival rates from the disease. ...more

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Local discount-prescription businesses diversifying as Canada warns of pull-back

From the Fort Myers (FL) News Press:
Customers worried their access to cheaper Canadian drugs might be jeopardized need not fear: the world is at their fingertips.

Canadian health officials last month announced they intend to ban the bulk export of prescription drugs when supplies are low there, sending a ripple of concern through thousands of Southwest Florida residents who rely on Canada to save them money. ...more

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Health Canada advises about vision problems possibly associated with Viagra, Cialis and Levitra

From Health Canada:
Health Canada is advising individuals who use the drugs Viagra, Cialis and Levitra to consult their physicians and seek immediate medical attention if they experience sudden vision loss or vision-related problems while taking these drugs. Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are drugs used to treat impotence and erectile dysfunction in men. ...more

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Important Safety Information on Concomitant Use of PAXIL or PAXIL CR and pimozide (Orap)

From Health Canada:
The concomitant use of PAXIL® or PAXIL CR™ and pimozide (Orap®) is contraindicated as paroxetine has been shown to increase plasma pimozide levels. Elevation of pimozide blood concentration may result in QT interval prolongation and severe arrhythmias including Torsade de Pointes.

Senate panel endorses drug bill

From the Portland (Maine) Press Herald:
A Senate committee approved legislation Thursday to allow people to buy prescription drugs from other countries, but the prospects for the bill's ultimate passage remain uncertain.

The Senate Commerce Committee voted 13-8 to add the legislation from U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, to a bill governing the Federal Trade Commission. Snowe said the goal behind the bill is to take advantage of lower, government-limited prices in other countries. ...more

State advances its quest for Canadian drugs

From In Business Las Vegas:
The Nevada Pharmacy Board is one step closer to making Canadian drugs available to Nevadans.

Pharmacy Board lawyer Louis Ling and incoming executive director Larry Pinson visited with about 20 Canadian pharmacies in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for a few days last week.

The pharmacies are interested in selling prescription drugs to Nevadans -- at a lower rate on brand-name drugs than is available from U.S. pharmacies. Canada has mandated discounts imposed on pharmaceutical manufacturers, while the United States does not. ...more

Democrats propose bill to let Michigan residents buy cheaper drugs

From the Detroit Free Press:
State House Democrats say Michigan residents could save big on prescription drugs if the state joins a program letting them buy medicines from Canada and other countries.

Democrats planned to announce legislation Monday that would allow Michigan to get into the I-SaveRx program, which helps individuals buy about 150 brand-name drugs at a lower price because they are shipped from outside the United States. ...more

Red tape, not politics, keeps abortion pill out of Canada

From the Ottawa Citizen:
In virtually any industrialized country, women seeking to terminate pregnancies need not check into a hospital or abortion clinic. They need only take a fistful of pills and a glass of water: in every country, that is, except Canada, where RU-486, the "abortion pill," remains unavailable a quarter century after it was invented. ...more

Lawsuit alleges Eli Lilly Parkinson's drug linked to gambling

From the Globe and Mail:
A second lawsuit has been filed in Ontario that alleges a connection between gambling and a popular drug to treat Parkinson's disease.

Eli Lilly Canada Inc. of Toronto said it received a statement of claim that alleges its Permax drug causes "compulsive, obsessive behaviour, including pathological gambling."...more

Ontario myeloma patients want life-saving drug in wake of Herceptin approval

From the Canadian Press:
Many people in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec are celebrating this weekend after their provincial governments approved the expensive breast cancer drug Herceptin.

But for a group of people in Ontario suffering from a type of cancer with its own fast-tracked wonder drug that didn't get funded, the announcement brought only disappointment and feelings of desperation. ...more

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Two countries join drug program

From the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's struggling I-SaveRx prescription drug program is gaining two more countries from which enrollees can order medication.

Blagojovich said Monday that Australia and New Zealand will join the program this fall. ...more

Monday, July 18, 2005

Illinois Expands I-Save-RX Program To Australia, New Zealand

From KSDK-TV (MO):
Governor Rod Blagojevich says the I-Save-RX drug import program will expand to Australia and New Zealand as a source for prescription medicine.

The expansion was announced just weeks after Canada's health minister said his country would no longer be a cheap drug store for the United States. ...more

Friday, July 15, 2005

Ontarians warned not to hoard ’flu drugs

From the Fort Frances (Ontario)Times:
Canadians confronted with the threat of a global pandemic should refrain from stockpiling antiviral drugs to avoid depleting national supplies and hurting efforts to mitigate the impact of an influenza outbreak, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health warned yesterday.

Canadians are increasingly asking their doctors for back-up doses of Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, a practice Dr. Sheela Basrur is trying to discourage. ...more

Health Canada issues advisory over statins

Some patients with underlying health conditions could be at risk of serious side-effects from widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, Health Canada advised Tuesday.

The medications, which include Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Lescol and Lescol XL (fluvastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin), put some patients with pre-existing medical conditions at greater risk of muscle-related problems. ...more

Prestigious award for Mountain pharmacist

From the Hamilton Mountain News:
For the past three years Hamilton pharmacist Irene Hogan has been helping women with their special health care needs.

Ms. Hogan, who operates a women's health specialty practice at the three DayNight pharmacies on the Mountain, was recently presented with the Patient Care Achievement Award for Specialty Practice at the Canadian Pharmacists Association's annual convention in Quebec City. ...more

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Put ibuprofen behind counter: health panel

From CBC Nova Scotia:
The popular pain reliever ibuprofen may be moved behind the counter at pharmacies in Nova Scotia, if a panel recommendation is implemented.

The national drug review panel was formed to review the use of COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx, medications prescribed to relieve pain from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis....more

Business Press

From the Las Vegas Business Press:
University Medical Center Director of Pharmacy Don Frisch thinks the poor will have a tough time using Nevada's Canadian drug importation system.

Oncologist Dr. Arnold Wax is passionate when he talks about skyrocketing drug prices in the United States. The Southern Nevada physician has seen his patients make difficult choices. Some have had to skimp on buying potentially lifesaving drugs while substituting cheaper, less-effective, alternatives in their place. ...more

The latest battle to get Herceptin

From the Globe and Mail:
As provinces prepare to fund the breakthrough breast cancer drug Herceptin, they are running into a new set of problems: too few doctors able to test and treat the thousands of women who could be saved by the drug.

Herceptin is currently available on a case-by-case basis in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. ...more

Monday, July 11, 2005

Stanstead Pharmacy Fills Niche On Border

From the Caledonia (Vermont) Record:
Located just yards north of the Vermont border, with no Canadian competitors to speak of within 15 miles, pharmacist Diane Vaillancourt appears to have found the perfect location for what is one of Stanstead's most successful businesses.

Opened in January 2004, Pharmacie Diane Vaillancourt is a state-of-the-art 9,300-square-foot pharmacy that grew out of two smaller outfits Vaillancourt had bought up in previous years. Stanstead's next nearest pharmacies are scattered just south of the border from the neighboring village of Derby Line to the town of Newport. ...more

Canada's prescription drug rates lose luster

From the San Diego Union Tribune:
Last year, many state Democrats and consumer advocates saw Canada as the promised land for cheap prescription drugs.

So why didn't they even flinch when Canada's health minister recently announced plans to restrict the flow of drugs to the United States?

By that time, California health care advocates had already decided that Canada couldn't do much to lower drug costs in the Golden State. ...more

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Expert panel recommends Vioxx return to market, issues warning on ibuprofen

From Macleans:
Ibuprofen, one of the most common painkillers on the market, poses just as much risk of heart attacks and stroke as controversial drugs like Vioxx, says an expert panel named by Health Canada.

The finding in a report Thursday is likely to surprise many people who routinely use ibuprofen, which has been marketed since the 1950s and is available without a prescription. ...more

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Drug makers reformulate U.S. cold medicines that can be used to make meth

From the Canadian Press:
Under pressure from law-enforcement agencies and state governments, drug companies have begun reformulating popular U.S. cold medicines to prevent criminals from converting them into methamphetamine.

"This is the direction we're moving," said Elizabeth Assey, spokeswoman for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in Washington, D.C., a lobbying organization for the cold medicine industry. ...more

Drug supply OK for most

From the (Augusta, Maine) Morning Sentinel:
Mainers who shop for prescription drugs in Canada have no reason to be concerned that their supply will be shut off, but a leading Canadian official's warning about drug re-importation could affect the Penobscot Nation's plan to get into the business, officials say.

They were reacting to Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh's call for legislation and initiatives to protect the supply and safety of Canadian drugs. He intends to introduce a proposal this fall to allow for a temporary bans of bulk exports when supplies are running low at home. ...more

Monday, July 04, 2005

Canadian ban may not hurt I-Save Rx

From the Bloomington (Ill.) Pantagraph:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's highly touted I-Save Rx prescription drug program would not be affected by a proposed ban of Canada's bulk export prescription drugs to the United States, said a Blagojevich spokeswoman.

"The I-Save Rx program is one of personal importation where we link an individual to an individual pharmacy to fill an individual prescription," Rebecca Rausch said Wednesday. "What the Canadian health minister was talking about today was bulk, wholesale purchases." ...more

R.I. Health Dept. Files Canadian Drug Import Guidelines

From NBC 10 News (RI):
Canadian pharmacies can soon seek a license to sell drugs in Rhode Island under long-awaited regulations filed by the state Department of Health on Friday.

A law that legalized Canadian drug sales went into effect in January, making Rhode Island the first state in the nation to allow residents to import cheaper drugs from Canada. But the law has never been used because the state first had to develop regulations for licensing Canadian pharmacies. ...more

Cdn. has to buy cancer drug abroad

From CTV News:
For Mississauga, Ont. resident Mario Codispoti, each moment with his family is more precious than ever. Five years ago, he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer death in this country.

This January, Codispoti's doctor told him his only hope for extending life was to be treated with the drug Erbitux, which has been proven to slow tumour growth in some patients.

Trouble is, Erbitux hasn't been approved yet for use in Canada. ...more

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Canada Drug Export Ban Could Change Rx Landscape in U.S.

From Forbes:
If Canada makes good on its pledge this week to restrict exports of prescription drugs, it will mean short-term headaches for U.S. consumers needing cheaper, potentially lifesaving pharmaceuticals.

In the long-term, however, such a move could force some dramatic changes in the prescription drug network, and might even prompt a political showdown in Washington, D.C., experts say. ...more

InformationWeek > E-Commerce > Canadian Drug Sales To U.S. To Continue, For Now > July 1, 2005

From InformationWeek:
The Canadian health minister's crackdown on the sale of medications to U.S. customers over the Internet is a non-starter, at least for now, as Canadian suppliers say they are still open for business.

Andy Troszok, president of a group of online medication suppliers, hailed the measures outlined in recent days by Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, who proposed cracking down on abuses in shipments of drugs to the U.S.

"He made proposals in three areas," said Troszok, who is president of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA). "First, he wants to do something about bulk shipments." ...more

Medicare may cut appeal of I-SaveRX

From the Springfield (Ill.) State Journal Register:
The Medicare prescription-drug benefit set to begin Jan. 1 will not cover medications purchased from Canada or other countries, potentially discouraging customers from Gov. Rod Blagojevich's struggling I-SaveRx program.
Costs of drugs purchased from other countries also cannot be used toward calculating a Medicare enrollee's out-of-pocket expenses.

"The significant cost implications of seniors losing their Medicare Part D benefits should be seriously considered," said Mike Patton of the Illinois Pharmacists Association. ...more

Friday, July 01, 2005

Pawlenty: Canadian drug export ban won't affect state's program

From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:
A Canadian plan to ban the bulk export of prescription drugs to the United States will not affect Minnesota's prescription drug Web site, Governor Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday.

Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said he will introduce legislation to block the export of prescription drugs. He said the law is necessary to protect the country's drug supply and safety.

But Pawlenty said the proposed legislation would not hurt the site, which allows Minnesotans to buy drugs from Canada and England, because customers buy smaller, individual quantities instead of large, bulk orders. ...more

Canada may cut drugs to U.S.

From the (Springfield, Mass.) Republican:
Talk in Canada yesterday that the country could restrict the sale of some prescription drugs to the United States will not affect a program through which Springfield city employees, retirees and their dependents get lower-cost medications from an Ontario company, according to the firm's president and CEO.

Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, commenting that Canada would no longer be a cheap "drugstore for the United States," said he would introduce legislation when the House of Commons reconvenes in the fall that would allow for the temporary ban of bulk exports when supplies are running low at home. Dosanjh said he must ensure Canadians continue to have access to an adequate supply of safe and affordable prescription drugs. ...more

Governor Vows To Fight For Cheaper Prescriptions

From WBBM-TV (Ill.):
Canada is preparing to ban the bulk export of medicines and to require buyers to have a prescription from a Canadian doctor. That's bad news for Illinois’ seniors. But CBS 2 political editor Mike Flannery reports the governor has a plan to make discount drugs available despite the problems with Canada.

At a pharmacy in Streeterville, we found some consumers upset about the news that Canada is moving to restrict the export of medicines. Bob Martin's reduced his prescription bill to $500 a month by using foreign sources from Mexico and Canada. ...more

Dosanjh sets rules for Internet drug sales

From the Toronto Star:
Canada plans to ban bulk exports of discount prescription drugs to the U.S. when the need arises to protect domestic supplies of medicine, says Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh.

The government is preparing legislation it hopes will provide a key weapon in fighting plans by some U.S. states to make large-scale drug purchases from Canadian pharmacies, where prices are up to 70 per cent lower. ...more