The Canadian branch of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), along with fourteen other Canadian patient advocacy organizations have written a letter to Canadian Health Minister, the Honorable Ginette Petitpas Taylor imploring her to prevent the United States from wiping out the Canadian prescription medication supply with their misguided importation proposals.
Among the concerns that ASOP Canada expresses about the various U.S. importation proposals include; disruption of Canada’s pharmaceutical supply, prescription drug shortages, and the unintended consequence of these regulations which will promote the unrestricted development of illegal online pharmacies using Canadian branding to sell substandard and counterfeit drugs to unwitting U.S. patients.
ASOP Canada cites a report by the C.D. Howe Institute that found at present that “Canada routinely experiences a shortage of 700 to 1000 medicines at any given time.” If U.S. importation proposals are implemented, Canadian patients will encounter a depleted medication supply and find their ability to get needed prescriptions filled under threat. The sheer size of the U.S. population dwarfs that of Canada. Canadian patients will be ill served if Health Canada allows U.S. patients to access Canadian prescription medication.
ASOP Canada also points out that U.S. patients looking online for Health Canada-approved medications are easy prey for drug counterfeiters and other criminals acting outside of U.S. and Canadian jurisdiction. While U.S. consumers may get a false sense of security from the passage of importation laws, “In reality, what is likely to occur is a proliferation of illegal sites misrepresenting themselves as licensed Canadian pharmacies and exacerbating a situation that is already dangerous and threatening patient safety on both sides of the border.”