Monday, May 08, 2006

Cranley’s Canada Plan



John Cranley has revealed the first part of his platform: the federal government should allow the importation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada to save Americans money. This is an issue that Democrats and some Republicans took up in the ’04 election.

Apparently, Chabot is opposed to importation of Canadian drugs (see HR 2427, Vote #445, 7/25/03; HR 2673, Vote #624, 11/18/03; HR 1, Vote #668, 11/21/03 for evidence).

As an example of what the changes would mean, Cranley put together a chart of how much Cincinnatians could save by buying official name brand medicine from Canada: a bottle of Celebrex costs $340.09 in Cincinnati, but $159.95 in Toronto. So if your grandma was able to buy the bottle of medicine from Canadian website, she would save $180.05 per bottle, or over 50%.

This plan sounds nice in principle, but there are obvious concerns. If the federal government allowed imports of drugs from Canada, perhaps other countries would pressure the U.S. to allow them to export us drugs as well. This brings into question how likely it is that counterfeit/tainted drugs will make their way into our borders.

The FDA says that Cranley’s type of plan “is unsafe and illegal (unless Congress legalizes it…), since there is no way to trace the drugs back to their source at a time when Canada still refuses to allow the FDA to inspect its wholesale, distribution and manufacturing operations” and that “Canada is currently a net importer of medicines, including imports from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India, which are havens for drug counterfeiters.”

In response, the Republican Congressman, Rep. Gutknecht said,
“It would be devastating if someone gets sick or dies because someone's drugs were confiscated... It is amazing that we have a government that can't control our borders to illegal immigration and literally tons of illegal narcotic drugs that are coming into this country every day, but by God they can stop Grandma from saving $50 on her prescription drugs."

I think I agree with Gutknecht and Cranley. The plan Cranley is referencing only includes official name brand (still in the original packaging) medicine from Canada. That’s it.

What this all comes down to is whether or not Congress and the FDA is determined enough to figure out a plan that ensures that any prospective drugs shipped from Canada to the U.S. are the real thing. If a bill in Congress passes to authorize the importation, I can’t imagine that our governments wouldn’t be able to figure out a system to ensure safety. Although I may be giving them too much credit.

2 Comments:

At 7:25 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I trust Canada's system more than our FDA. They have let a lot of bad drugs on the market lately. We could just pass laws saying they can only make so much profit on much needed drugs like every other industrialized nation in the world.

They make profits that are only in line with the oil companies.

 
At 10:46 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say briefly: Best! Useful information. Good job guys.
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