(Wikimedia Commons)

Canadians worried by plan to let Americans import drugs

Trudeau pledges that Health Canada will ensure a ‘steady and solid supply’ of medications

A Trump administration plan to let Americans legally import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada is causing concern among Canadians who fear that it could cause shortages of some medications — as well as surprise by officials who say they weren’t consulted about a possible influx of U.S. drug-buyers.

The plan is a “clear and present danger” to the health and well-being of Canadians who need prescription medications, said John Adams, the volunteer chairman of the Best Medicines Coalition, a non-profit organization representing 28 national patient organizations.

Adams told The Canadian Press the existing supply of drugs in Canada is not always sufficient to meet the current needs of Canadians, let alone a sudden surge in demand from south of the border.

Diabetes Canada is one of more than a dozen organizations that signed a letter urging the Canadian government to safeguard the country’s drug supply.

“It’s clear to us that whatever measures need to be put in place to prevent, for example, large-scale importation by online pharmacies or large-scale importation by large U.S. states, has to be put in place because Canada is not structured to produce an amount of medications required for a population that size,” Kimberley Hanson, executive director of Diabetes Canada, told the CBC.

The Trump administration’s announcement also came as a surprise to Canadian health officials.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor’s office said while U.S. and Canadian officials have “mutual interest” in fostering lower drug prices, details of Wednesday’s announcement by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar were not discussed beforehand.

“While we’re aware of ongoing state-led initiatives to import Canadian drugs, we weren’t consulted on specifics,” the office said in a statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Thursday that Health Canada will ensure there is a “steady and solid supply” of medications for Canadians regardless of external or international pressures.

The Trump administration said Wednesday it will create a way for Americans to legally import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada for the first time, reversing years of refusals by health authorities at a time of public outcry over high prices for life-sustaining medications.

READ MORE: U.S. to set up plan allowing prescription drugs from Canada

The plan still has to go through time-consuming regulatory approval and could face court challenges from drugmakers.

“The landscape and the opportunities for safe linkage between drug supply chains has changed,” Azar said. “That is part of why, for the first time in HHS’s history, we are open to importation. We want to see proposals from states, distributors, and pharmacies that can help accomplish our shared goal of safe prescription drugs at lower prices.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Putting agriculture back in the classroom

Alberta teachers get first hand experience through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s Agriculture Literacy Program

Update: Possible drowning at Pigeon Lake involved man and woman from Edmonton

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

Sylvan Lake man’s documentary getting limited run in Alberta theatres

Scott McDermott’s documentary will be in 14 theatres, including Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin

134 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

First day over 100 cases since July 31

Pay bills, reduce spending, emergency funds: Canadians polled on COVID financial priorities

Credit Canada Financial Priorities Poll reveals short term mindset

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

13-year-old charged in death of boy, 10 in Maskwacis

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Most Read