Filling Prescriptions for Americans-Big Business in Canada

Filling Prescriptions for Americans-Big Business in Canada
▪ 2004

      On a chilly September morning in Duluth, Minn., 20 or so Minnesotans boarded the “Rx Express” bus bound for Winnipeg, Man. The passengers, senior citizens on fixed incomes, were on a quest for prescription drugs at prices they could afford. Their tab, including appointments with physicians, hotel stays, and meals, would be picked up by U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, who had been using his government salary to finance Rx Express trips since 2000. The fact that the seniors would save up to 80% by buying their drugs in Canada rather than in the U.S. made the 10-hour, 685-km (425-mi) bus ride well worth it.

      Trips to Canada were one way Americans were seeking more reasonably priced medications. Another, more convenient way was via the Internet, and in 2003 well over one million American consumers—not just seniors—took advantage of savings they could get by forwarding prescriptions from their American doctors to an ever-growing number of Canadian mail-order “e-pharmacies.” Still another way was through local government initiatives. In July Springfield, Mass., became the first American city to establish a “drug reimportation” program—so named because many of the drugs dispensed in Canada were American-made—for its 9,000 employees and retirees. Governors from Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Iowa, and West Virginia were looking into implementing similar programs, as was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

      Drugs in Canada were generally less expensive because the national government negotiated prices, capped subsequent price increases, and granted pharmaceutical companies extended patent rights. In the U.S. drug prices were not controlled and consequently were among the highest in the world. Certainly the booming business that Americans were bringing to Canadian pharmacies was evidence that the U.S. was not doing enough to make drugs affordable to all of its citizens. Even though Pres. George W. Bush said the new Medicare legislation, which he signed into law on December 8, was “finally bringing prescription drug coverage to the seniors of America,” the savings it would offer them—at least in the short term—would remain far less than the savings from their northern neighbour.

      Technically, it was illegal for Americans to import or reimport prescription drugs from a foreign country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was strongly opposed to the cross-border pharmaceutical trade, citing mainly safety reasons. Although the regulatory agency had exercised “enforcement discretion” with individuals who obtained small quantities of medications for personal use, it began cracking down on profit-making storefront businesses that were facilitating transactions with Canadian pharmacies. In March the FDA warned one of the biggest commercial ventures, Rx Depot, Inc., that its actions violated the law; a U.S. district court subsequently ordered Rx Depot to shut down its 85 storefronts in 26 states.

Ellen Bernstein

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cañada — /keuhn yah deuh, yad euh/, n. Chiefly Western U.S. 1. a dry riverbed. 2. a small, deep canyon. [1840 50; < Sp, equiv. to cañ(a) CANE + ada n. suffix] * * * Canada Introduction Canada Background: A land of vast distances and rich natural resources …   Universalium

  • Canada — /kan euh deuh/, n. a nation in N North America: a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 29,123,194; 3,690,410 sq. mi. (9,558,160 sq. km). Cap.: Ottawa. * * * Canada Introduction Canada Background: A land of vast distances and rich natural… …   Universalium

  • Economic Affairs — ▪ 2006 Introduction In 2005 rising U.S. deficits, tight monetary policies, and higher oil prices triggered by hurricane damage in the Gulf of Mexico were moderating influences on the world economy and on U.S. stock markets, but some other… …   Universalium

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

  • china — /chuy neuh/, n. 1. a translucent ceramic material, biscuit fired at a high temperature, its glaze fired at a low temperature. 2. any porcelain ware. 3. plates, cups, saucers, etc., collectively. 4. figurines made of porcelain or ceramic material …   Universalium

  • China — /chuy neuh/, n. 1. People s Republic of, a country in E Asia. 1,221,591,778; 3,691,502 sq. mi. (9,560,990 sq. km). Cap.: Beijing. 2. Republic of. Also called Nationalist China. a republic consisting mainly of the island of Taiwan off the SE coast …   Universalium

  • Europe, history of — Introduction       history of European peoples and cultures from prehistoric times to the present. Europe is a more ambiguous term than most geographic expressions. Its etymology is doubtful, as is the physical extent of the area it designates.… …   Universalium

  • 1967 Detroit riot — West Grand Blvd. at 12th Street in Detroit forty years later. The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan, that began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967. The… …   Wikipedia

  • France — /frans, frahns/; Fr. /frddahonns/, n. 1. Anatole /ann nann tawl /, (Jacques Anatole Thibault), 1844 1924, French novelist and essayist: Nobel prize 1921. 2. a republic in W Europe. 58,470,421; 212,736 sq. mi. (550,985 sq. km). Cap.: Paris. 3.… …   Universalium

  • North Dakota — This article is about the U.S. state of North Dakota. For other uses, see North Dakota (disambiguation). State of North Dakota …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”