Thursday, January 25, 2007

Top Ont. pharmacist warns of national security threat posed by U.S. drug bill

I don't agree with Marc Kealey's assertions in his latest speech.

"Who can say with absolute certainty that the next $19 million worth of phoney drugs could be sent to America not by criminals in Belize, but by terrorists determined to kill American citizens? That the fake pills from a purported Canadian Internet pharmacy will contain not talcum powder or baking soda, but cyanide or anthrax?"
Kealey suggests that terrorists purporting to be Canadian pharmacies could attack the United States. This is of course possible, just as some shadowy organizations in obscure countries are selling Viagra through websites with maple leaves on them. But is this reason enough to ban legitimate Canadian online pharmacies? If all cross-border pharmacy was closed tomorrow, the criminal organizations claiming to be Canadian would still exist.

"Picture an open floodgate. Picture a medicine cabinet with the door ripped off the hinges. Picture a made-in-America problem being solved on the backs of Canadians."

Kealey isn't afraid to try to make Canadians afraid. I can't see his gloomy scenario ever happening. I don't agree with bulk exports and I'd be okay with laws to that effect. However, even if no laws are changed, I would think that the Canadian pharmaceutical companies wouldn't allow sales to American bulk buyers just as they choose to not sell to known Canadian internet pharmacies. Even a change in American law will not be able to compel the Canadian branch of Pfizer or Merck for example to sell millions of Canadian Lipitor or Fosamax tablets to the American branch of Safeway or Wal-Mart Pharmacy (all examples).

As for individual purchases, the current market conditions simply don't allow for the grim predictions. Has the sky fallen in the last several months now that U.S. Customs isn't seizing packages from Canadian pharmacies? I am not aware of any substantial changes to the available medication supply in Canada since then, and my understanding is that Canadian internet pharmacies have not seen any signficant surge in business as a result either. As long as the dollar stays above 80 cents U.S. (which is somewhat likely) and the drug companies maintain their existing controls on supply (which will absolutely continue), cross border pharmacy will be a niche market only.

From the Canadian Press:
A U.S. bill that would legalize bulk imports of Canadian prescription drugs should be nixed because it poses a health threat to Canadians and a security risk to Americans, Ontario's top pharmacist said Wednesday.

The legislation, introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives earlier this month, will encourage the proliferation of mail-order and Internet drug sales, which could open the door to drug counterfeiting and drug terrorism, said Ontario Pharmacists' Association CEO Marc Kealey. ...more

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