Canada Rx Cheaper and Guaranteed Too

Discussion
May 08, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson


The Washington Post is reporting in today’s edition, “The Canadian government has officially said that it will be responsible for the safety and quality of the large and growing flow of prescription drugs across the border to American consumers.”


US consumers have been increasingly turning to Canada to save money on prescriptions. Price controls, north of the border, often make drugs less expensive for Americans even with shipping factored in.


Larry Kocot, of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), is concerned Canada’s clarification of policy could “lull consumers into thinking that Canadian drugs are as safe as American ones. We believe they’re not.”


FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, said, “The fact that they are explicitly stating that they are trying to assure safety and effectiveness not only for Canadians, but for the millions of prescriptions sold to Americans through Canada, is a potentially useful step.”


Mr. McClellan added, “We still can’t assure safety and quality because the products go outside of our authority. The situation remains ‘Buyer beware,’ and that’s not a good way to assure public health.”


Moderator’s Comment: Will the Canadian government’s
assurances accelerate consumers purchasing prescription medicines from Canada?
What is the answer to level the playing field between US and Canada on this
issue?


Please excuse us if we seem a bit cynical about the groups
voicing concerns about the safety of consumers buying drugs from Canada.


We remember a few years back speaking with an executive
of a pharmaceutical company that reasoned the FDA should grant approval for
sale of her company’s drug because it was already being sold in Canada. She
included the fact that Americans were crossing the border to purchase the drug
as another reason it should approved for use here. [George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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