Sunday, February 12, 2006

Increased seizures by U.S. Customs

The Los Angeles Times and other news sources have reported an increase in seizures of packages from Canadian pharmacies.

The U.S. government apparently is stepping up seizures of cheap drugs ordered by Americans — mainly seniors — from abroad, Canadian pharmacies say.

The pharmacies, which sell drugs by mail and over the Internet, say their shipments are being intercepted by U.S. Customs officials around the country where foreign mail is handled.

"It's huge — we've had over 800 seizures in January," up from 15 in a typical month, said Barney Britton, president of Calgary-based MinitDrugs.

Other pharmacies reported four- to five-fold increases. An informal survey of 30 Canadian pharmacies that cater to American customers, conducted by a senior-citizen advocacy website, showed that the rise began in November, doubled in December and doubled again in January....more

U.S. Customs has always stopped a small percentage of packages but this is different than before. Some people think there is no coincidence that this crackdown is occuring at the same time as new Medicare program is being implemented in the States.

From the Palm Beach Post:
"It's a disgrace that our government is trying to coerce us into the program," said Muriel Zuckerman of Florida ...more

I'm inclined to agree that this is no coincidence. The Canadian pharmacies have lost business due to increased drug costs, the less favorable exchange rate, and the new Medicare program. This could be the straw that breaks the camel's back for some of the pharmacies. Plus, increased seizures will make American consumers think twice about ordering from Canada if for no other reason than convienience. Sounds like a good stategy for an American administration that wants the Canadian pharmacies to go away.

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