Cheap Canadian Prescriptions Become an American Issue

earnings on drugsAmerica has undergone a price hike in pharmaceutical products. In some cases, Americans pay 10% more for simple medication than Canadians. Is it any wonder why Americans have turned to Canada to purchase cheaper medication? Despite the availability of products online, selling pharmaceutics across borders is still largely illegal. Many Americans cannot afford their medication and have turned to Canada for support. Although there was a 7% drop in Americans purchasing pharmaceutics after Obamacare as more Americans were able to afford their daily medication, this change was short-lived.

Americans have turned to Canadian online pharmacies to purchase products. Recently there was a lifesaving drug which was being sold for 5,000% more than its previous price. Also, American senior plans do not apply to all seniors; hence leaving seniors to manage for themselves. Moreover, many companies conspire to raise prices to increase their profit.

What’s the issue?

One person particularly disturbed by this practice is human rights lawyer Amir Attaran. Mr. Attaran has chosen to write a letter to Stephen Harper asking him to take immediate action against the drug exchange program. Attaran argues that this exchange is highly unethical and needs to be prohibited.The issue arises that this sort of drug exchange is illegal and considered drug trafficking under the law.

With neither country is consistently targeting the issue, there is significant room for legal violations. The American Food and Drug Association allows individuals to purchase drugs from Canada so long as the purchase is less than three months worth of prescriptions. On the other hand, some argue that the Canadian government might be hesitant to take action due the 4,000 employees that earned a living in this line of work in the 2000’s.

Some pharmacists have argued that the real threat to Americans is their high prices for simple brand name drugs. Similarly, some Americans feel they have no alternative but to turn to Canada for support. Nevertheless, this arrangement is beginning to attract a lot of attention.

U.S prosecutors in Montana have sanctioned indictments against concerning conspiracy and smuggling. The action was sparked by findings that revealed was allegedly selling fake cancer drugs and attempted to hide the evidence back in 2009- 2012. Conversely, Canada Drugs denies this claim and suggests that they are no longer associated with the cancer related drug.

moneyIn addition to this troubled situation, Canada and America are fighting over the world’s most expensive drug – Soliris. Soliris is used to treat a rare disease that impacts one in a million people. On average Canada pays about an additional $30,000 for the drug than their American counterpart. The Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board has taken action to have the price reduced which was countered by Alexion, the American parent company of Soliris. Alexion argued that Canada does not have authority to force the company to lower its prices which are increased due to the exchange rate.

According to Amir Attaran, if this decision is made in favor of Alexion, it could potentially be the biggest danger to pricing drugs in Canada as Ottawa would lose its ability to regulate patented drug prices.

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Points of Discussion:

1. How do you feel about online pharmacies and cross border drug purchases?


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