Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Cheap Canadian Drugs

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Cheap Canadian Drugs

    Is the problem artificially low drug prices in Canada, or artificially high drug prices in the USA? Certainly Americans aren't going to voluntarily stop this cross-border shopping. The only thing that will stop this is direct governmental intervention, and just today the FDA announced its first big shut-down of an internet pharmacy. However, since the Pharmaceutical lobby is the largest lobby in Washington (IIRC), is there more at play than meets the eye?

    Cross-border Rx
    Justin Thompson, CBC News Online | November 7, 2003


    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/drugs/

    The cross-border trade in prescription drugs is booming and Canadian pharmacies are reaping the benefits. Low Canadian drug prices, a low Canadian dollar and close proximity add up to big savings for American consumers hungry for affordable medication.

    The trade is huge and is estimated to have been worth more than $1 billion in 2002 – double what it was one year earlier. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Americans are on the receiving end of more than two million packages of prescription drugs per year.

    And for good reason. Canadian pharmacies dispense drugs identical to those south of the border – in many cases for a fraction of the price.

    A quick comparison of popular drugs shows just how much difference the border can make. Take Tamoxifen for example. Walgreens – the biggest drugstore chain in the U.S. – sells 180 of the breast cancer treatment tablets for $380.97 US. That very same order retails for $102.90 from Manitoba-based web pharmacy Rx1. That's a 73 per cent savings worth $278.07 – an astonishing difference that's making more and more Americans take notice.

    It isn't just ordinary citizens who are looking for a good buy. The states of Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota are looking into using Canadian pharmacies to supply drugs for their government employees.

    There are several factors that make drug prices lower in Canada than in the U.S.

    Perhaps the most obvious is the exchange rate. For the last few years the Canadian dollar has hovered between 60 and 70 cents, giving Americans more bang for their greenback.

    Another reason is the fact that Canadian drug companies are not allowed to market their products directly to consumers. That's a substantial savings not realized south of the border, where so-called direct-to-consumer marketing has been allowed since 1997. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, drug companies spent almost $3 billion on direct-to-consumer advertising – a price that gets passed on to the consumer.

    But the biggest reason for the price disparity is the existence of drug price controls in Canada. The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, a quasi-judicial body of the government created in 1987, reviews pharmaceutical prices and enacts caps for patented drugs and medicines prices.

    Some of the most popular pharmacies for Americans are in Manitoba, where pharmacists were quick to recognize the efficiency of using the internet to reach the U.S. market. A steady supply of cheap warehouse space combined with more relaxed rules for issuing prescriptions over the phone make Manitoba a popular destination for U.S. consumers. Today, it's estimated that anywhere between 10 and 20 per cent of Manitoba's 1,500 pharmacists work for an internet pharmacy.

    While U.S. consumers are singing the praises of cross-border pharmacies, many government representatives and pharmaceutical companies are vehemently opposed.

    Already three major companies – Eli Lilly and Co., Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline PLC – have curtailed their supplies to Canadian pharmacies. And already those restrictions have driven up Canadian prices. While most drugs are cheaper in Canada than in the U.S., Pfizer's Viagra and Eli Lilly's Prozac are selling for more north of the border (see price comparison chart).

    It's becoming a growing concern for Manitobans. They're worried the cross-border trade will effectively subsidize U.S. consumers at the expense of Canadians and that drug supplies will suffer because of the growing amount of prescription drugs being siphoned off by U.S. consumers.

    A group called the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy says that if the trade is allowed to continue to grow, it would have "disastrous" effects on Manitoba's health care system. The group is especially concerned about the prospects of state governments using Canadian pharmacies to source their drugs.

    Michele Fontaine is the CMP's vice-president. He says the increased appetite for Canadian pharmaceuticals has led to a shortage of drugs and pharmacists in Manitoba.

    In an October 2003 letter, he implored Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich not to turn to Manitoba pharmacies for his state's drug supply. "It would be a disaster," wrote Fontaine. "A huge volume of drugs diverted to Illinois would make the shortages we're seeing even worse. I think the governor will listen to what we have to say. I don't think any American politician wants to try to solve a domestic problem by taking prescription drugs and pharmacy care away from Manitobans."

  • #2
    I don't think that they are going to be able to stop Americans shopping at Canadian or Mexican Pharmacies. With the price of drugs the way they are, people will find a way to get cheap drugs. The FDA is just making noises.

    Comment


    • #3
      Who does the FDA work for, the people who take drugs or the companies that create the drugs?
      "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

      Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

      Comment


      • #4
        "A huge volume of drugs diverted to Illinois would make the shortages we're seeing even worse. I think the governor will listen to what we have to say. I don't think any American politician wants to try to solve a domestic problem by taking prescription drugs and pharmacy care away from Manitobans."
        I wouldn't count on it.
        And we are here as on a darkling plain
        Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
        Where ignorant armies clash by night.


        Matthew Arnold

        Comment


        • #5
          Cheap drugs?

          Actually, our drug prices are not that much different than Yankee prices. The difference in that you guys have a monstrous advertising budget tacked on to the price, and we don't. In Canada (and most of the rest of the world, to the b.o.m.k.), it is illegal for drug companies to advertise.

          "Oh, please Doc! I saw this ad on TV for this pill that will give me runny, uncontrollable discharges, and will make me impotent... I just gotta have it!"

          I don't even understand advertising, except maybe to hypochondriacs. My doc can decide what drugs are required in my case. He has almost a decade of schooling in this crap, with continuing ed. every year; let him decide. I can get involved asking for generic substitutes, or do research on the net if I feel it's required.
          Last edited by Mantis; 08 Nov 03, 20:47.
          "When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my country. I make up for lost time when I am at home."

          Winston Churchill

          Comment


          • #6
            All I'm going to say on this subject is....

            Patent, copyright and intellectual properly laws need to be reformed.
            "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

            – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

            Comment


            • #7
              Big news item in Chicago area. Illinois governor Blagojevic (the most powerful local advocate of Candian imports) basically wants to teach the U.S. pharma companies a lesson and not only encourage import from Canada but make it easier than ever.

              U.S. pharma companies claim that the high costs, 2-3 times higher than Canada and 4-6 times higher than Europe are justified because the extra money goes towards extra research that makes U.S. drugs the best in the world.

              However, they are unable to support this claim with any evidence and most experts agree that they do it to inflate profits and for no other reasons.

              "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
              --Frederick II, King of Prussia

              Comment


              • #8
                Part of that expense includes sending doctors on all expense paid vacations to Hawaii. They do this to give the doctors sales pitches to prescribe thier drugs over a competetors drug. Drugs with so many side effects that one has to wonder which is worse the desease or the cure. There are a lot of experts who say that todays drugs really aren't any better than those of the old days, some say that they are worse.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Priest
                  Part of that expense includes sending doctors on all expense paid vacations to Hawaii. They do this to give the doctors sales pitches to prescribe thier drugs over a competetors drug. Drugs with so many side effects that one has to wonder which is worse the desease or the cure. There are a lot of experts who say that todays drugs really aren't any better than those of the old days, some say that they are worse.
                  Worse, most of the drugs are designed to deal with symptoms, not causes. There's no money in the cure.
                  "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                  – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    True Mike, I would also agree with you that patent laws need to be reformed. Generic drugs would lower the price of drugs significantly, but of course, the drug lobby also sends our elected representatives on those same junkets.

                    Comment

                    Latest Topics

                    Collapse

                    • Karri
                      Prawn heads
                      by Karri
                      How do you cook them? How do you eat them?

                      So far I've always just twisted them off, and discarded it along with the shells and such, only...
                      Yesterday, 11:40
                    • Jose50
                      Thoughts on the US abandoning NATO
                      by Jose50
                      Now may be a good time for the NATO countries to start beefing up their materiel, personnel and alliances. There is a decided wave here in the US that...
                      Yesterday, 08:41
                    • Von Richter
                      Sagittarius Rising...
                      by Von Richter
                      Just having a re-read of this book after it's stood for donkey's years on the bookshelf. Once again, within the first couple of pages, I'm transported...
                      Yesterday, 01:19
                    Working...
                    X