Thursday, October 12, 2006

Canada shouldn't be 'medicine cabinet' for U.S., pharmacists warn

Cross border pharmacy has hit the headlines again. Now that the American government is stopping their crackdown on medications from Canadian pharmacies, there is considerable concern about the States using up the existing drug supply.

The Canadian Pharmacists Association and the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association are leading the charge. The OPA has issued this press release stating they are “deeply disturbed” about the situation. Jeff Poston of the CPhA has similar thoughts. "We can't afford to be the medicine cabinet for the U.S.," said Poston.

While I understand their concerns, I think their fears are largely unfounded. First of all, there is no sign that the doors have been flung open in the States without restriction. The FDA will still be seizing packages from Canadian pharmacies according to this article. Bulk imports of drugs still aren't allowed and there is no plan to change that.

Changing these rules don't alter the fact that prices of medications from Canada just aren't as appealing as they were two or three years ago. The increased exchange rate, pharmaceutical company restictions on the online pharmacies, and the option of Medicare Plan D will keep many Americans dealing with pharmacies in their own country regardless of any policy change. I don't see a return to the booming days of a couple years ago for internet pharmacies unless some of these factors also change.

Besides, many people look at these decisions to simply be a method to gain votes in the upcoming American midterm elections. I don't think too many people would be shocked to see a return to the previous policies in the new year once the votes have been counted.

From CBC News:
An American decision to stop seizing U.S.-bound prescription drugs at the border could jeopardize the Canadian drug supply and access to care, a pharmacy association warned Thursday. ...more

No comments: