Message to Congress: Leave Canadian prescription drugs alone



    OTTAWA, March 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian pharmacists and patients told the
U.S. Congress today it should stop plans to legalize bulk prescription drug
imports from Canada.
    In a brief submitted to a Senate subcommittee holding hearings today in
Washington, the Canadian groups warn that a proposed U.S. law could strip
Canada of its entire prescription drug supply.
    According to Jeff Poston, the executive director of the Canadian
Pharmacists Association, "Not only will such a measure damage the Canadian
drug supply, resulting in drug shortages, it will in all likelihood lead to
increased drug prices for Canadians."
    The proposed legislation, introduced with bi-partisan support in both
houses of Congress January 10th, would allow individual Americans, pharmacies
and wholesalers to buy prescription drugs from Canadian suppliers.
    A subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and
Transportation opened hearings on the bill today in Washington, D.C.
    An independent study by a professor at the University of Texas at Austin
has shown that Canada's entire prescription drug supply would sell out in just
38 days if Americans were to buy all their prescription drugs from Canada.
    The Best Medicines Coalition, a patients' advocacy group, says the U.S.
legislation means the Canadian government must legislate an immediate ban on
bulk exports of prescription drugs.
    "The fact is that the U.S. legislation is starting to move forward and
could soon become a real threat to Canada's prescription drug supply," says
Louise Binder, chair, Best Medicines Coalition. "Our government should act now
to take pre-emptive steps that will protect Canadians today. Acting after the
fact threatens patient access to medications and will result in compromised
patient health outcomes."
    Marc Kealey, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, said the U.S.
bill could also put more counterfeit prescription drugs into the hands of U.S.
patients. "Opening U.S. borders to increased counterfeit drugs and criminal
activity from outside North America puts the health of Americans at risk,"
Kealey warned.




For further information:

For further information: Louise Crandall, Canadian Pharmacists
Association, (613) 523-7877; Mary Ann Cedrone, Ontario Pharmacists'
Association, (416) 441-0788; Leah Stephenson, Best Medicines Coalition, (416)
422-0114


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