Shepherd MD*, The effect of US pharmaceutical importation on the Canadian drug supply. CPJ. 2010 Sept/Oct; 143(5):226-33.
Abstract. Background and objectives: For over a decade, many US politicians have advocated that the US allow personal and commercial drug importation. Currently, the only entities that can legally import a pharmaceutical in the US are pharmaceutical manufacturers. Our objective was to compare the number of prescriptions dispensed in Canada with the US and estimate the effect US drug importation from Canada will have on the Canadian drug supply.
Methods: A model was created to measure the potential effect on the Canadian drug supply. The model uses the number of US prescriptions being sourced from Canada and the number of prescriptions dispensed in Canada in 2007 as the baseline. The number of days to exhaust the 2007 Canadian drug supply was calculated.
Results: The model found that if 10% of the US prescriptions were filled from Canadian sources (manufacturer, wholesale or retail), Canada’s 2007 drug supply would be exhausted in 224 days. If the demand from the US reached 20%, the 2007 supply would be exhausted in 155 days. The model was redone focusing on brand name drugs, with generic drugs removed. It was found that with a US demand of 10% and 20%, the 2007 Canadian supply for brand name drugs would be exhausted in 268 and 201 days, respectively.
Conclusion: US drug importation is a threat to Canada’s drug supply. Even if the US demand were 10%, Canada would need to dramatically increase manufacturing, triple drug importation, or most likely control or halt pharmaceutical shipments to the US.
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