Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Next Front In Border Debate: IUDs

From the National Post:
In an unusual twist on the cross-border trade in medical products, doctors in the United States are coming under fire for ordering much cheaper, but apparently identical, versions of IUD birth-control devices from Canada.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has not approved the Canadian products, so cannot guarantee their safety. Critics argue the agency is only propping up inflated, U.S. prices, underscoring the high cost of health products generally in the U.S. system.

Meanwhile, one practitioner faces fraud and other criminal charges for importing Canadian IUDs, and some state governments have mounted high-profile crackdowns, ordering doctors to stop using the devices.

"Anybody who takes a look at this scenario can see the problem," said Erin Cassinelli Couch, an Arkansas lawyer who represents the specialist awaiting trial on federal charges.

"You have a private corporation that sets the price quite a bit higher than they set for the same product in other countries, and they've gotten the U.S. government to limit purchases to that company and at that price." ...more

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