If you're like the millions of Americans who get their prescription drugs from Canada, you might want to start looking for an alternative. An announcement out of Canada Wednesday has many people concerned.
Canada's Health Minister says he intends to ban bulk exports of prescription drugs to the United States. "It is in the best interest of Canadians, Canada cannot be the drug store for the United States of America," says Ujjal Dosanjh.
He adds the ban would not be permanent, and would likely be limited to certain drugs that are in short supply at any certain time. "280 million people can't expect us to supply drugs to them, uncontrolled basis, for controlled prices within our pricing regime," says Dosanjh.
Governor Jim Doyle is not happy with the announcement and feels there's a different reason behind the decision. "Nevertheless, this is a result of the pressure the American drug companies have put on Canadian pharmacies to restrict the amount of prescription drugs they are allowed to purchase and sell in the United States," says the Governor.
The Canadian Health Minister says another problem is that there is no patient-doctor relationship when it comes to cross-border prescription sales. He says, "We want to build on our existing regulations with the food and drugs act to strengthen those regulations to ensure there is the requirement of a doctor–patient relationship for any cross–border drug sales in terms of prescription."
The Governor disagrees again. "I think that that's a really bogus issue. The fact is under our website, you're talking about medication that is with a valid prescription from a U.S. doctor."
But the Governor says Wisconsites who use the Wisconsin drug savings website shouldn't worry. "In addition to pharmacies in Canada, our website would and does direct people to pharmacies in the U.K. and Ireland and the State of Illinois."
The health minister is promising to have Canada's House of Commons take up the issue this fall.
For more information on Wisconsin's prescription drug savings program, log onto www.drugsavings.wi.gov.
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