Senator Says Drug Industry Is Pressuring Canadian Government to Halt Exports to US 
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 Senator Says Drug Industry Is Pressuring Canadian Government to Halt Exports to US

Canada Plans to Halt Drug Exports to U.S.
Senator Says Drug Industry Is  Pressuring Canadian Government


WASHINGTON (June 30) - As Canada moves toward a likely ban on exporting

prescription {*filter*} to the United States, it has declared one objective:

care of its own. The Bush administration has cited drug safety as the
reason from banning pharmaceutical imports from Canada. Either way, the

impact  is
the same: U.S. residents will pay higher prices for medications.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said the Canadian government succumbed to
pressure from U.S. drug manufacturers, which threatened to shut down
supply if  {*filter*}
intended for Canadians went to Americans instead.

''This is a big, strong, wealthy industry, and they're fighting as hard

they can fight so that they can charge the highest prices in the world
prescription {*filter*} to U.S. consumers,'' Dorgan said.

Canada's health minister, Ujjal Dosanjh, said his country would
overhaul its
regulations on exporting prescription {*filter*} and would no longer be  a
drug store for the United States. The move is an attempt to head off
deluge of
demand if Congress legalizes Internet and bulk importation of
{*filter*} from Canada.

A Bush administration official said Canada could not possibly keep up
the demand from U.S. consumers if they could buy their {*filter*} from that

country. As part of its socialized medical system, the Canadian
government  typically
sets drug prices 40 percent below those in the United States.

Tom McGinnis, the">food and Drug Administration's director of pharmacy
affairs, said the agency was already concerned about an increase in the

flow of
{*filter*} going into Canada from countries such as India.

''We don't know anything about the strength, quality or purity of these

{*filter*},'' McGinnis said.

The concept of reimportation has generated support from influential
groups such as the AARP. Polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation
that about three-quarters of Americans support the idea of Congress
Americans to buy prescription {*filter*} from pharmacies in Canada.

At the same time, a new prescription drug benefit under Medicare kicks

next year. The benefit will reduce some of the financial pressures that

drug prices have placed on many senior citizens.

''The symbol of grandma getting on the bus and going off to Canada has

some extent gone away,'' said Larry Levitt, Kaiser's vice president for


McGinnis cites two other financial reasons to avoid reimportation. He
generic {*filter*} sold in the U.S. are often cheaper than generics sold in

Drug companies, he said, have initiated various programs to get
prescriptions to low-income residents at greatly reduced prices.

The trade group representing drug manufacturers said it opposes
{*filter*} from foreign countries if there are no strong FDA safety
protocols in
place. There simply is no way to ensure the safety and efficacy of
those {*filter*},
said Ken Johnson, senior vice president of Pharmaceutical Research  and

Manufacturers of America.

Dorgan said he's disappointed in the Canadians' decision, but he
believes it
won't stop lawmakers from eventually approving the importation of
U.S.-manufactured {*filter*} from countries such as Canada.

''I think the votes are there. They've blocked us from some while but
can't do it forever,'' he said.

Associated Press Writer Beth Duff-Brown in Toronto contributed to this

AP-NY-06-30-05 0306EDT

Tue, 18 Dec 2007 08:46:29 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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