The Counterpoint

January 04, 2005

Canada won't ban drug exports ... yet

This seems like good news:

Canada isn't poised to ban prescription drug sales outside its borders immediately, a move that would cut off access to cheaper medications for more than 2 million Americans, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday. A ban still might come later, he said.

"We are temporarily relieved that a decision is not imminent," Pawlenty said at a news conference following a meeting with a Canadian consulate official. "That buys us a little more time."
A major fear of reimportation centers around the quality of the drugs that are being reimported. This doesn't worry me much. The pharmaceutical companies aren't going to sell a shoddy product to consumers, be it in Canada or the United States. These are the same drugs Canadian citizens are getting, and they seem to have no reservations about quality. Despite the scare, there is absolutely no concrete proof that reimported drugs have directly caused injury or death. There may be some risk involved, but it's a small price to pay for millions of Americans to get sweet deals on their prescription drugs.

But I do wonder if Canadian pharmacies will have the quantity of drugs necessary to fill prescriptions in the States. If reimportation catches on, the American companies that fill Canadian supplies are going to adjust their exports to forcibly stop the trend. Average Americans may dislike them, but the companies are not stupid by any means; they are going to keep as much of their profits as they can.


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