In spite of recent efforts by legislators in Florida, Maine, Colorado, and elsewhere, Canadian patient groups are vocally opposing pending legislation that proposes importing prescription medications from the Canadian drug supply. Paul Blanchard of the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association told CBC News, “The country’s pharmacists association has been talking to the federal government … to make sure that the federal government and Canada is aware that the Americans are literally knocking on our door.”
Blanchard also warned that it is illegal for a Canadian wholesaler or pharmacy to export drugs to the United States, and doing so will put their right to practice pharmacy at risk.
Of greatest concern to Blanchard are drug shortages in Canada. He told CBC that one in four Canadians were personally affected by a shortage. Blanchard’s concern is that any efforts to import prescription medication out of Canada will magnify drug shortages in Canada.
According to Bloomberg Law, a coalition of health groups that include the Canadian Medical Association have begun a campaign to push the Canadian government and Parliament to block importation projects emanating from the U.S.
Additionally, Canada’s acting U.S. Ambassador Kristen Hillman spoke with Joe Grogan, White House director of the Domestic Policy Council, and other White House officials on November 1st. Fierce Healthcare reports that Ambassador Hillman told the group “Canada’s market for pharmaceuticals is too small to have any real impact on U.S. drug prices. Canada represents only 2% of global pharmaceutical consumption vs America’s 44%.”
In Florida, Natalija Marjanovic, Canadian consul for political, economic and public affairs, posted in Miami told the Florida Phoenix, “Canada opposes any actions that could endanger the health and safety of Canadians by threatening the supply of prescription drugs in Canada or raise the costs of prescription drugs for Canadians.”
According to CBC, Dr. Sandy Buchman, President of the Canadian Medical Association warned, “We’ve never been under threat in this way before. We’re only about a 10th of the size, so any kind of raiding of our drug supply is really going to have a major impact.”