Important Note:

This is an archive of our news section. It is no longer updated but we kept it here so that you could see some of the things that the FDA, big pharma and politicians did during the Canada drug reimportation debate of 2004 and 2005. The first fifty posts are formatted HTML (include links) but the 1,000+ posts after that are plaintext (no links, just text). We decided it would be pointless to keep the links in since most (if not all) of the outgoing links are already dead and we simply do not have the manpower to go through and fix the html for 1000+ posts. Thank you for understanding.

Big Pharma Buys Democrats to Kill Reimportation Legislation

According to Washington Post Staff Writer Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, drug firms are now wooing Democrats to help defeat their drug reimportation bills:

“In the year since they took over on Capitol Hill, Democratic leaders have been unable to pass either a bill allowing reimportation of drugs from Canada or a measure requiring negotiation of drug prices under Medicare. Neither is likely to reach the president’s desk this year. Lawmakers on both sides of these issues say the primary reason is the influence, now redirected, of the drug lobby.”

One of the tricks Big Pharma uses is called “clogging the system” – they hire Democratic lobbyists from all the major firms to prevent opponents from using those consultancies.

Other tactics include:

  • investing millions of dollars into Democratic goals
  • increasing lobbying by 25% to $22 million last year
  • forming alliances with every patient group it can find

Source Article:
Drug Firms Woo Democrats, Helping Defeat Their Bills

Editor’s Note:

Politicians that get into bed with big pharma are:

  • betraying the trust of the people they serve
  • killing free competition
  • poisoning the political process

If the drug industry is allowed to put politicians on both sides of the political spectrum into their pockets, our democratic system of government will be sicker than the millions without access to affordable drugs.

The health of our people and government is under attack but the TV news networks continue to debate: “Does Eliot Spitzer swallow?”

It is sad that they spend more time talking about politicans who sleep with a whore than they do about politicians who act like one.

March 22, 2008

Updated Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. It can be found on our About Us page (scroll down for privacy policy):

About Us: Privacy Policy

March 18, 2008.

Judge Throws Out Canadian Drug Lawsuit

A federal judge has thrown out Montgomery County’s lawsuit arguing that the FDA unfairly barred it from importing lower cost prescription drugs from Canada for its employees.

County officials say they’re reviewing their legal options and deciding their next move.

Source: Judge Throws Out Canadian Drug Lawsuit (Associated Press)

August 30, 2006.

Senator or Stain on Senate Floor – How Did Your Senator Vote on Drug Reimportation Amendment

Would you like to know how your senator voted on the prescription drug reimportation amendment?

According to the Vote Summary of U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress – 2nd Session, those who voted for the ammendment outnumbered those who opposed it by over two to one.

Statement of Purpose:

To prohibit the United States Customs and Border Protection from preventing an individual not in the business of importing a prescription drug from importing an FDA-approved prescription drug.

Vote Counts:

YEAs: 68
NAYs: 32

Who voted for the ammendment?

Akaka (D-HI), Allard (R-CO), Baucus (D-MT), Bayh (D-IN), Biden (D-DE), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Brownback (R-KS), Burns (R-MT), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Carper (D-DE), Chafee (R-RI), Clinton (D-NY), Coburn (R-OK), Collins (R-ME), Conrad (D-ND), Craig (R-ID), Dayton (D-MN), DeMint (R-SC), Dodd (D-CT), Dorgan (D-ND), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley (R-IA), Harkin (D-IA), Inhofe (R-OK), Inouye (D-HI), Jeffords (I-VT), Johnson (D-SD), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Kohl (D-WI), Landrieu (D-LA), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Lieberman (D-CT), Lincoln (D-AR), Lott (R-MS), Lugar (R-IN), Martinez (R-FL), McCain (R-AZ), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Murkowski (R-AK), Murray (D-WA), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Obama (D-IL), Pryor (D-AR), Reed (D-RI), Reid (D-NV), Rockefeller (D-WV), Salazar (D-CO), Sarbanes (D-MD), Schumer (D-NY), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Smith (R-OR), Snowe (R-ME), Specter (R-PA), Stabenow (D-MI), Talent (R-MO), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA) and Wyden (D-OR).

Thank you all for having the common sense and wisdom to protect our borders from real threats and to help grandparents throughout the US get safe, affordable prescription drugs from Canada.  You are all a credit to the Senate and politics in general.

Who voted against the ammendment?

Alexander (R-TN), Allen (R-VA), Bennett (R-UT), Bond (R-MO), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Cochran (R-MS), Coleman (R-MN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeWine (R-OH), Dole (R-NC), Domenici (R-NM), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Frist (R-TN), Graham (R-SC), Gregg (R-NH), Hagel (R-NE), Hatch (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), Isakson (R-GA), Kyl (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Roberts (R-KS), Santorum (R-PA), Stevens (R-AK), Sununu (R-NH), Thomas (R-WY), Voinovich (R-OH) and Warner (R-VA).

Shame on you!

By wasting Homeland Security resources to protect Big Pharma’s profits, you:

  • endangered our country by exposing us to real terrorist threats
  • betrayed the people of the state who voted for you hoping that you would protect the interests of the constituents, not those of corporations who put short-term profits ahead of long-term national health
  • made grandparents suffer needlessly because the drugs they paid for were stolen by their own government at the Canadian border

In my opinion, the carrion who voted against this amendment are not Senators.

The word senate is derived from the Latin word senex (old man).

If anyone called me ‘old man’ to my face, they would be asking for one in the kisser.  If they quietly looked up ‘old man’ in a dictionary, however, there would probably be a picture of someone who looks a lot like me (not as virile and charming, mind you, but the similarities would outnumber the differences).

The meaning of the word senate comes from a simple social organization in which decision-making powers are reserved for the eldest men in a society.

Again, if you put me somewhere on a scale between youngest and eldest in our society, I would probably be closer to the latter.

While it would be unreasonable (and age discrimination) to expect only the eldest of our society to be voted into our Senate (we are a democracy, after all, and there are many Senators with wisdom beyond their years), you would think that the Senate would at least have the courtesy, wisdom and common sense to protect the interests of the eldest in our society – people on whose backs this nation was built.

If the Senate puts corporate profits over the interests of taxpayers who worked hard and, in some cases, risked life and limb for this nation, what kind of sacrifice can you expect from the next generation?

That is why I think the carrion who voted against this amendment are not Senators.  They ignored the immediate interests of the eldest in our society.  More importantly, they betrayed the long-term interests of our nation by showing that personal sacrifices for the good of the nation are not repaid in kind but campaign contributions are.

Simply put, the short-sighted slugs who voted against the amendment are not Senators but stains on the Senate floor.

Hopefully there will be a clean-up on aisle five when their seats are up for election.

Source: US Senate Roll Call Votes

July 27, 2006.

Senator Vitter Follows Through

Vitter Shows Off His Follow-through (Source: The Shreveport Times)

Give US Senator David Vitter credit for pushing ahead on one of his key campaign issues by working to loosen the borders for the importation of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Vitter… engineered passage of a Canadian loophole on a Food and Drug Administration ban regarding the importation of prescription medicine….  while sold more cheaply to Canadian and other foreign markets, are often made in the same factories.

July 20, 2006.

Senate Passes Drug Reimportation Amendment

Senate Passes Drug Reimportation Amendment (Source: The Hill)

Supporters of drug reimportation notched a win yesterday when the Senate passed a bill that would prohibit federal funds from being used to confiscate prescription drugs from Canada.

The measure passed 68-32, with no opposition from Democrats.

July 19, 2006.

Senate OKs Canada Drug Import Plan

Senate OKs Canada Drug Import Plan (Source: Guardian Unlimited)

The Senate opened the way Tuesday to let Americans import prescription drugs into the United States from Canada, seeking to ease a regulatory ban on cheaper medicine crossing the border.

The proposal, which was approved 68-32, would create a Canadian loophole on an FDA ban on importing prescription medicine into the United States.

July 18, 2006.

Levin, Stabenow Support Prescription Drug Measure

Levin, Stabenow Support Prescription Drug Measure (Source: Detroit Free Press)

Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow helped the Senate pass a measure letting people buy their prescription drugs from Canada.

The Senate’s homeland security spending bill approved last week allows Americans to import prescription drugs from Canada despite a Food and Drug Administration ban on importing prescription medicine into the United States.

Prescription drugs are generally sold at cheaper prices in Canada and other countries because of government price controls. The Senate passed the measure on a 68-32 vote.

Editor’s Note: Brand name drugs are sold cheaper in Canada but ‘government price controls’ are only one of many factors.  To find out more, please read our Prices Page Also, keep in mind that generic drugs tend to be cheaper in the US than they are in Canada. For more information, see Hints / Tips (scroll down to “Generic Drugs – Buy Locally and Shop Around”).

July 18, 2006.

Prescription Drug Myths in the News

It is amazing what passes for news these days.

An article that appeared on a Daily News website on May 22nd offered this quote from an American pharmacist as to why drugs were so expensive in the United States:

“You just have to try to make them understand the tremendous cost of bringing a drug to market.”

The reporter then went on to explain how a new drug must go through a long research and testing process, followed by costly marketing phase.

For a more accurate account:

Fiction: Each New Drug Costs $800 Million Dollars to Develop

Why are Canadian Drug Prices Lower?

The article also seemed to suggest that there was something wrong with generic drugs:

“(Patients) should know they have a choice between falling in with a brand name or a generic…  The majority of the time, it’s fine to use a generic substitution.”

The majority of the time it’s fine to use a substitution?  I would be interested to know in what cases it would not be fine.  A generic drug, by definition, is therapeutically equivalent (identical in strength, concentration, and dosage form) to a brand-name drug.

The article goes on:

Still, in some cases, the generic substitution isn’t the best option for a patient. Other times, a generic equivalent isn’t available for a brand-name medication, in which case a doctor would need to prescribe a substitution.

While I can understand the second sentence (generic drugs cannot be manufactured until the patent on the brand name drug expires), the first sentence suggests that a generic substitution may not the best option for a patient.

Again, how can a therapeutically identical generic not be the best option?  Perhaps it is not the best option for the manufacturer of the brand name drug (nor for the pharmacy?).

For the patient, however, how can a drug that is equal to a brand name drug with the same use and metabolic disintegration but cheaper not be the best option from a consumer’s perspective?

The pharmacy then goes so far as to offer tips for consumers which include the following question to ask your doctor or pharmacist:

Are there any risks (side effects or reactions) if I change from my current branded drug to a generic medication?

Sorry to sound like a broken record but generic drugs are identical in strength, concentration, dosage form and metabolic disintegration so if the patient is currently using a brand name drug that has a generic equivalent, there should be no problem whatsoever in switching to the less expensive alternative.

As you already know, brand name drugs are much cheaper in Canada.

This is not the case for generic drugs:

Generic Drugs – Buy Locally and Shop Around

May 25, 2006.

Some Still See Canada as Option

Some Still See Canada as Option  (Source: Rocky Mountain News)

Seniors continue to buy medicines from Canada despite the push to enroll them in Medicare prescription drug plans.

A year’s worth of Canadian drugs can cost the same or less than drugs bought in the cheapest Medicare plan. And the process is simple.

“We will save you 53 percent on the top 10 medications. Medicare doesn’t come close to giving that kind of discount,” said Andrew Stempler, president of “As soon as the Americans don’t need me anymore, I won’t be in business.”

Editor’s Note: RX North is listed in our Pharmacies section.

May 19, 2006.

Online Canadian Prescription Drugs Available to Nevadans

Online Canadian Prescription Drugs Available to Nevadans

Nevadans can buy cheaper Canadian prescription drugs beginning next week. A state legislative committee gave final approval to rules allowing Nevada residents to make the purchases online.

So far, the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy licensed four Canadian pharmacies that meet the standards set by the state. The bottom line is, right now, any resident of Nevada can legally buy the cheaper Canadian drugs from those four companies.

Source: KLASTV

Editor’s Note: A link to the Nevada State Governor’s Approved Canadian Pharmacies List can be found on our Useful Links page under the ‘Government’ heading.

May 05, 2006.

Prince George’s Officials Want Canadian Drugs

Prince George’s Officials Want Canadian Drugs (Source: WTOP News)

From the article:

Some Prince George’s County lawmakers want the county to look at buying prescription drugs from Canada in an effort to save money.

Montgomery County lawmakers have already approved legislation that allows for the import of prescription drugs for its employees and retirees from Canada.

The county expects to save about $15 million a year.

March 30, 2005.

GOP Conservatives Strategize with Dorgan on Reimportation

(Dead Link Removed) GOP Conservatives Strategize with Dorgan on Reimportation (Source: The Hill)

From the article:

A group of conservative Republicans has opened talks with the leading Democratic proponent of a bill to allow for the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.

Republican freshman Senators David Vitter and John Thune are backing a reimportation bill that is identical to a House bill by Rep. Gil Gutknecht. The senators have been meeting with Sen. Byron Dorgan, who last year tried to force consideration of the issue by holding up the nomination of Mark McClellan to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

March 30, 2005.

Industry Aims to Defeat Discount Drug Initiatives

Industry Aims to Defeat Discount Drug Initiatives (Source: LA Times) (Dead Link)

From the article:

The (pharmaceutical) industry already has raised an unprecedented $8.6 million to defeat a ballot initiative being readied by Health Access California, an Oakland-based nonprofit…

The Health Access measure would compel drug makers to offer discounts to 6 million to 10 million Californians — making a substantial dent in the industry’s profits…

The companies are treating that approach, which is paralleled by Democratic legislation pending in the state Assembly, as far graver than last year’s press to allow the importation of Canadian drugs.

March 28, 2005.

Nevada Legislators Consider Drug Importation Plan

Nevada Legislators Consider Drug Importation Plan (Source: KRNV)

From the article:

A plan to help Nevadans buy prescription drugs from Canada has passed the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee…

The bill instructs the state Board of Pharmacy to inspect and license Canadian pharmacies. The state would then create a Web site with links to the pharmacies, to help Nevadans buy their drugs online.

March 17, 2005.

Another Upstate County Considers Canadian Drug Option

(Dead Link Removed) Another Upstate County Considers Canadian Drug Option (Source: WSTM)

From the article:

Lawmakers in another upstate county may soon clear the way for government workers to obtain prescription drugs from Canada.

This week in Binghamton, Broome County legislators plan to review a program that backers say could result in big savings to taxpayers.

Last June, Schenectady County moved to permit its workers to obtain long-term prescription medications from Canada.

March 15, 2005.

Murphy Leads the Fight to Allow Drug Reimportation

(Dead Link Removed) Murphy Leads the Fight to Allow Drug Reimportation (Source: The Herald)

From the article:

At a public hearing before the Public Health Committee in the state capitol Friday, people on all sides debated whether the state should buy drugs from Canada… to lower the cost of prescription medication.

Senator Christopher Murphy… is the chairman of the committee. He introduced bill 1236, which would pave the way for the state to begin the importation and reimportation of drugs from Canada…

Sandra Micalizzi, secretary of the Senior Citizen Committee, was a geriatric nurse for nearly 30 years. She told the committee that there is a clear need for such a bill, given the current state of health coverage.

March 14, 2005.

Canada ‘Nowhere Near’ Internet Pharmacy Clampdown

(Dead Link Removed) Canada ‘Nowhere Near’ Internet Pharmacy Clampdown (Source: Reuters)

From the article:

Canada said on Friday it was “nowhere near” deciding how to clamp down on Internet pharmacies that send cheap medicine to the United States, often without Canadian doctors having seen the patients.

“I’m nowhere near a decision,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Ottawa.

March 11, 2005.

FDA Seizes Prescriptions Sent to US from Abroad

FDA Seizes Prescriptions Sent to US from Abroad (Source: Boston Globe)

From the article:

The Food and Drug Administration is seizing prescription drugs shipped to US patients from overseas under I-Save Rx, the program sponsored by five states to help residents obtain low-cost medicines.

At least 54 customers said the FDA confiscated orders sent from Britain since late January, said Tony Howard, president of CanaRx Services Inc., the program’s Tecumseh, Ontario-based supplier. The orders were worth $13,000, Howard said.

“I think the FDA’s in collusion with the drug companies,” Philip Flavin, 57, a disabled former respiratory therapist from Glenview, Ill., said.

Instead of receiving his order of Merck & Co.’s bone-strengthening drug Fosamax in January, he got a letter from the FDA saying the package had been seized by the US Post Office.

March 10, 2005.

Montana House Endorses Canadian Drug Reimportation

Montana House Endorses Canadian Drug Reimportation (Source: Billings Gazette) (Dead Link)

From the article:

The House gave initial approval Thursday to a bill aimed at giving older state residents access to cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Reimporting drugs is technically illegal, but the laws are generally not enforced. Latest estimates show between 1 million and 2 million Americans get their drugs from Canada, with the average consumer saving 25 percent to 50 percent.

Under (Rep. Rick) Maedje’s bill, the Department of Public Health and Human Services would run the prescription drug Web site, endorsing only registered Canadian pharmacies inspected by the state’s pharmacy board.

March 10, 2005.

Ontario Supplier Blasts FDA for Seizing Prescription Drugs from Canada

(Dead Link Removed) Ontario Supplier Blasts FDA for Seizing Prescription Drugs from Canada (Source: CBC News)

From the article:

“Can you imagine if a senior didn’t get their medication and had a problem because the FDA seized it?” said (Tony) Howard.

“If the FDA is going to attack 70-year-olds and stop their medications, there’s a big problem in that country.”

Drugs like cholesterol-lowering Lipitor were among those stopped at airports by the FDA, which has always opposed drug imports and deemed them unsafe.

“These are maintenance medications and they’re clearly labelled in sealed packages,” said Howard, who resent medications to 54 customers who contacted the company.

March 10, 2005.

Drug Companies’ PAC Gives Big After Schwarzenegger’s Vetoes

(Dead Link Removed) Drug Companies’ PAC Gives Big After Schwarzenegger’s Vetoes (Source: San Francisco Chronicle)

From the article:

For more than a decade, a trade group representing the nation’s biggest drug companies was content to sit on the sidelines of California’s legislative races.

But after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed four bills in September that would have made it easier for Californians to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Alliance quickly emerged as one of California’s major players and one of the governor’s key supporters.

The PhRMA group jumped into state legislative races late in the 2004 campaign — only two weeks after Schwarzenegger’s Sept. 29 veto of the industry-opposed bills. It raised nearly $360,000 from its members — most of it during one week in mid-October — for distribution largely to Republican candidates backed by the governor.

March 10, 2005.

Bill Would Make State Import Discount Drugs from Canada

(Dead Link Removed) Bill Would Make State Import Discount Drugs (Source: Portland Press Herald)

From the article:

(Rep. James) Campbell, who serves on the legislative committee that is considering the bill, said Monday he is trying to help Mainers who are too poor or too badly disabled to take one of the well-publicized bus trips to Canada that senior citizens have been making in recent years to save money on their medications.

“I was wondering what happens to the seniors who can’t get out of the house or can’t afford the trip,” Campbell told the committee. Poor Mainers should not have to choose between paying the rent and buying medications, said state Rep. Timothy Driscoll…

March 09, 2005.

Profits – Sole Reason For Blocking Cheap Drugs

Profits – Sole Reason For Blocking Cheap Drugs (Source: Scoop New Zealand)

From the article:

The biggest argument put forth by Bush and the industry against importation is safety. But in reality, the safety concern is patently bogus, mainly because the imported drugs are nearly all from the same manufacturers who already provide drugs to US suppliers.

According to (Doctor Peter) Rost, half of the large drug companies, including Roche, Glaxo, Novartis, Astra-Zeneca, and Sanofi-Aventis, are currently foreign corporations anyways. He maintains that our government allows these foreign drug makers to charge more in this country than their own governments allow them to charge, and this is the reason why they fight against reimportation.

“So what do these foreign companies do?” he said, “They take out big ads in American newspapers, and tell us that reimportation is not safe,” he told the committee, “while they know full well that it’s been done safely and cost-effectively in their own home markets, in Europe, for over twenty years.”

March 07, 2005.

Otsego Looks Into Plan to Lower Drug Costs

(Dead Link Removed) Otsego Looks Into Plan to Lower Drug Costs (Source: The Daily Star)

From the article:

Pharmacies in the county would be offered the option of participating in the program, and county residents would be able to choose from three options to save money on drug purchases, (Otsego County’s Health, Education and Agriculture Committee Chairman Eugene) Wells said.

“If they bought their prescriptions from participating local pharmacies, they would receive discounts of up to 22 percent,” he said. “If they used a U.S. mail-order pharmacy, they would save from 30 to 35 percent. And if they purchased prescriptions from a Canadian mail-order pharmacy, they would save from 45 to 60 percent.”

March 05, 2005.

Bad Medicine

(Dead Link Removed) Bad Medicine (Source: Boston Magazine)

From the article:

(Helen) Donega, who lives in North Adams, survived a mastectomy, then found she’d have to pay more than $100 a month for tamoxifen to prevent a recurrence. So she delayed taking it.

“You are gambling,” she says, “and there are a lot of people who have more aggressive cancer than mine who did the same thing.”

At issue in the tamoxifen case, which was dismissed by a trial judge and is now on appeal, is whether AstraZeneca struck a deal with a generic-drug company to extend the length of its brand-name patent, a practice called “evergreening.” The cost of a drug often falls by as much as 80 percent when its patent expires, yet the alleged deal, plaintiffs continue to assert, allowed the company to charge 95 percent of its original price.

Editor’s Note:

At the writing of this post, a 20mg tablet of Nolvadex (brand name of tamoxifen) was priced $3.65 at an American online pharmacy. A Canadian pharmacy listed Nolvadex at $0.97 for the same 20mg tablet. A women living with breast cancer taking a daily dose of 40mg will be forced to spend $219 every month for Nolvadex in the United States. From a Canadian pharmacy, the monthly cost would be only $58.20. Although the price of generic tamoxifen has dropped in the US, it still costs $1.27 per tablet – $0.30 more per tablet than the brand name product at a Canadian online pharmacy.

March 03, 2005.

Missouri Bill Allowing Importation of Canadian Drugs Faces Stiff Opposition

(Dead Link Removed) Missouri Bill Allowing Importation of Canadian Drugs Faces Stiff Opposition (Source: Canadian Press)

From the article:

Lobbyists for drugmakers and pharmacies criticized legislation Wednesday that would license Canadian pharmacies to sell drugs in Missouri.

Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry suggested such a practice would be unsafe for consumers…

Editor’s Note:

It amazes me to think that some anti-reimportation advocacy groups are still stooping to pick up the old “safety” red herring.  Everyone knows that Canadian drugs are as safe as American drugs.  In fact, many believe that drugs obtained in Canada are “safer” that those obtained in the US.

March 02, 2005.

Washington State House Passes Canada Drug Bill

(Dead Link Removed) House Passes Canada Drug Bill (Source: The Olympian)

From the article:

In an effort to make it easier for people to buy cheaper prescription drugs in Canada, the state House passed a bill Friday directing the state Health Department to license Canadian pharmacies.

Rep. Sherry Appleton, who sponsored the bill, said the monthly drug bill for her 88-year-old mother, a cancer survivor, dropped from $836 to $300 when she started buying medications over the Internet from a Canadian pharmacy.

“I think people will feel more comfortable going across the border, knowing we have said as a Legislature that it’s all right,” said Appleton.

February 26, 2005.

Cost of Prescriptions Making Many ‘Sick’

Cost of Prescriptions Making Many ‘Sick’ (Source: Pahrump Valley Times) (Dead Link)

From the article:

Barbara Grabski worries that her prescriptions are making her sick. It’s not the drugs themselves, she says, but the extra work she must take on to pay for them.

“I’m stressed around the clock,” said Grabski, a 60-year-old diabetic and breast cancer survivor. “They tell you to rest, but I’ve got to work to pay for all this. It’s a vicious little circle.”

So Grabski works four days a week at the Department of Motor Vehicles, one other day cleaning houses and is looking for a part-time job on weekends. She tests her blood sugar once a day, instead of the recommended three times, to save money on the test strips. Last year she said she spent $4,500 on prescription drugs – about one in every five dollars she takes home from the DMV.

Many people, especially senior citizens like Grabski, are turning to overseas pharmacies to save money. Scores of Web sites offer access to Canadian pharmacies that often sell drugs for as much as 30 percent less than U.S. suppliers.

February 25, 2005.

Ottawa Drug Bust?

(Dead Link Removed) Ottawa Drug Bust? (Source: MacLeans)

From the article:

Despite recent and mildly conciliatory words about not wanting to put the kibosh on a $1-billion-plus business, Dosanjh has made it abundantly clear in the past month he is prepared to take on Canada’s Internet pharmacies… His all-out offensive follows Bush’s visit to Canada in early December, when the President raised the issue of Canadian drugs undercutting U.S. retailers with Prime Minister Paul Martin. Some critics have even speculated about a direct trade-off: an end to the flow of cheap drugs in exchange for the reopening of the border to Canadian beef…

If the Internet drug trade went under in Canada, up to two million Americans would find themselves without a ready source of affordable medicines.

February 21, 2005.

Lawmakers Eye R.I. Move to License Canadian Pharmacies

(Dead Link Removed) Lawmakers Eye R.I. Move to License Canadian Pharmacies (Source: Sentinel & Enterprise)

From the article:

With a growing number of senior citizens being forced to choose between paying the high cost of prescription drugs or heating their home, Rhode Island Rep. Fausto Anguilla said he couldn’t wait any longer for the federal government to step in.

The Bristol Democrat filed legislation empowering the state Board of Pharmacy to license Canadian pharmacies so residents can safely purchase drugs sold over the border for a fraction of the cost.

If Massachusetts passed a similar law, Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella said he’d owe it to city employees to explore the possibility.

He said he knows many residents in the city who already purchase drugs from Canada…

February 21, 2005.

U.S. First Nations to Import Canadian Drugs?

(Dead Link Removed) U.S. First Nations to Import Canadian Drugs? (Source: CBC News)

From the article:

The Minnesota government has started contacting First Nations in the state to see if they’d be willing to provide citizens with prescription drugs from Canada.

Minnesotans can currently use a state-sponsored website to purchase prescription drugs from four Canadian online pharmacies…

…government officials are investigating the possibility of using the sovereign status of First Nations in the state to import prescription drugs and then distribute them to Minnesotans.

February 19, 2005.

Council Considers Offering Data on Canadian Drugs

Council Considers Offering Data on Canadian Drugs (Source: LA Times) (Dead Link)

From the article:

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to study setting up a website to help residents buy less expensive drugs imported from Canada, although such purchases are illegal.

The website, if approved by the council, could be operating by this summer. It probably would be modeled on a San Francisco Department of Public Health website that steers visitors to the sites of three Canadian firms that sell prescription drugs to Americans.

February 17, 2005.

Senate Mulls Mail Order Drug Issue

(Dead Link Removed) Senate Mulls Mail Order Drug Issue (Source: Bristol Press)

From the article:

Dr. Peter Rost, Pfizer’s vice president of marketing for endocrine care, who previously marketed drugs for another company in Scandinavia, said that open re-importation forced prices down domestically and boosted sales.

Rost called the fight against re-importation “a fight to continue to charge our uninsured, our elderly, our poor, our weakest, full price, while giving everyone else a rebate.”

“This is fundamentally unethical. This is not how we’re supposed to treat our grandparents who built this country,” Rost said, stating that his views did not represent those of his employer.

February 17, 2005.

Internet Pharmacy Groups Mount Commons Offensive to Save Industry

Internet Pharmacy Groups Mount Commons Offensive to Save Industry (Source: Canadian Press)

From the article:

With high noon fast approaching in the showdown between the federal health minister and Internet pharmacies, the industry’s biggest trade groups are set to mount their latest offensive Wednesday in front of a parliamentary committee.

The Canadian International Pharmacy Association will argue the U.S. market for prescription drugs from Canada is relatively small and manageable, eliminating the need for Ottawa to step in with changes to federal law that could effectively crush the $1-billion industry.

February 15, 2005.

Public Support Fuels Latest Reimportation Push in Congress

Public Support Fuels Latest Reimportation Push in Congress (Source: AMNews)

From the article:

Public support is also reflected in recent opinion polls. For example, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 73% of Americans think Congress should change the law to allow reimportation. Only 21% oppose such measures. Sixty-nine percent said legalizing the practice would make medicines more affordable without sacrificing safety.

“People are not that concerned about the safety issue,” said Harvard University professor Robert Blendon, MD, PhD, who helped conduct the Kaiser survey. “At the moment, they feel comfortable with drugs from Canada.”

As long as people see a familiar label on their Canadian drugs, they think the medications are the same as they would get from their corner pharmacy, said Marvin Shepherd, PhD, professor of pharmacy at the University of Texas.

February 14, 2005.

Bush Threatens to Veto Medicare Changes

(Dead Link Removed) Bush Threatens to Veto Medicare Changes (Source: ABC News)

From the article:

The presidential threat appeared to have little impact on Democrats. They argue that the 2003 Medicare overhaul needs to give seniors more access to affordable prescriptions by permitting drug importation from Canada and allowing the government to negotiate drug prices.

“This is an attempt by the president to stop the bipartisan groundswell for drug reimportation and price negotiation and just the latest example of the Republican Party putting special interests ahead of the American people,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

February 11, 2005.

Red Lake Band, Canadian Tribes Discuss Direct Trade

(Dead Link Removed) Red Lake Band, Canadian Tribes Discuss Direct Trade (Source: Associated Press)

From the article:

Leaders from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and eight Canadian tribes are discussing ways to open direct commerce across the border, including prescription drug sales.

One idea is the establishment of a pharmacy in Thief River Falls at the Seven Clans Casino, where lower-priced prescription medications imported from Canada would be sold.

The joint Dakota Ojibwe Tribal Council operates a pharmacy in Winnipeg licensed by the Manitoba Pharmacy Association.

February 10, 2005.

House Passes Drug Reimportation Bill

(Dead Link Removed) House Passes Drug Reimportation Bill (Source: WCAX)

From the article: The Vermont House has passed a bill that requires the Douglas administration to join a multi-state program that allows people to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada…

Governor James Douglas is expected to sign the measure…

February 10, 2005.

Drug Companies Crack Down on Canadian Internet Pharmacies

Drug Companies Crack Down on Canadian Internet Pharmacies (Source: ABC News)

From the article:

Pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Wyeth, and Eli Lily have all cut off supplies to any Internet pharmacy selling drugs to Americans.

Documents obtained by ABC News show how Merck’s Canadian subsidiary — Merck Frosst — approached drug wholesalers that supply the Internet pharmacies. The company demanded ” a written statement that you have not sold and will not sell Merck Frosst’s drug products to entities which are selling, or enabling for sale, such products into the United States,” according to one document.

“I believe it is to drive us out of business because it is a complete cutoff,” said Dave MacKay, chief executive of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association.

February 08, 2005.

Op/Ed: No Good Reason to Bow to U.S. Pharma’s Lobbying

(Dead Link Removed) Op/Ed: No Good Reason to Bow to U.S. Pharma’s Lobbying (Source: Toronto Star)

From the article:

Even though several major pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Merck, have begun to stop supplying product to pharmacies that resell to the U.S., there are at least two reasons why that approach should not lead to a Canadian drug shortage.

First, the refusal to supply drugs is already being challenged in both Canada and the U.S. with several pending antitrust lawsuits as well as complaints before the Canadian Competition Bureau.

Second, the Canadian government could respond to the pharmaceutical companies by issuing compulsory licenses that would allow their generic pharmaceutical competitors to manufacture the same product in Canada provided the brand-name companies are given reasonable compensation.

While such an approach would spark an outcry from the industry, no industry should be permitted to hold a country hostage with threats that undermine public health.

February 07, 2005.

U.S. Grabs 81-Year-Old’s Lipitor Sent via Canada

(Dead Link Removed) U.S. Grabs 81-Year-Old’s Lipitor Sent via Canada (Source: The Capital Times)

From the article:

Charles Netzow is upset that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confiscated a drug that was being mailed to him from a pharmacy in Canada to help keep his cholesterol under control.

“I’m angry because it’s nonsense,” the 81-year-old suburban Fox Point man… after receiving a notice from the FDA indicating that his 90 tablets of Lipitor were confiscated…

Governor Jim Doyle, an advocate of access to cheaper online Canadian pharmacies, said he had no doubt that the drugs Netzow has been getting are the same drugs sold in the United States.

Doyle said he believed the FDA was confiscating drugs because of pressure from drug companies.

“The Bush administration has really put pressure on Canada to shut this down… The real question for the FDA and the Bush administration is, why don’t you get on the side of the people?”

February 07, 2005.

Alcock Offers High Level Support to Web Pharmacies

(Dead Link Removed) Alcock Offers High Level Support to Web Pharmacies (Source: CBC Manitoba)

From the article:

Treasury Board President Reg Alcock met with federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh in Ottawa Thursday to discuss ways Ottawa could address medical concerns about internet pharmacies without killing the industry.

Dosanjh has said the government could make it illegal for pharmacies to fill prescriptions for patients who have not been seen in person by a Canadian doctor, prevent the filling of prescriptions for foreigners who are not in Canada, or ban certain drugs from being exported.

Any of those moves would effectively kill the online pharmacy business, which employs an estimated 2,500 Manitobans and brings millions of dollars to the province’s economy.

Alcock, the Liberal MP for The Winnipeg South, says no federal action against internet pharmacies is imminent.

February 04, 2005.

Aberdeen Pharmacy Sues Canada Drug

(Dead Link Removed) Aberdeen Pharmacy Sues Canada Drug (Source: Keloland)

From the article:

A wholesale pharmacy in an Aberdeen is trying to shutdown the pipeline of prescription drugs from Canada…

Jewett Drug Company is suing Canada Drug, a Sioux Falls business that offers customers access to cheaper medicines from Canada. In court papers, Jewett says Canada Drug is operating as a pharmacy without a license.

February 03, 2005.

Steele, Hiett Introduce ‘Rx for Oklahoma’

(Dead Link Removed) Steele, Hiett Introduce ‘Rx for Oklahoma’ (Source: Shawnee News-Star)

From the article:

Providing access to prescription medicines for low-income and uninsured Oklahomans is the goal of the “Rx for Oklahomans” drug plan introduced Tuesday by State Rep. Kris Steele and Speaker Todd Hiett, R-Kellyville.

“What we are proposing is actually, I think, a result of some legislation that Gov. (Brad) Henry carried when he was a senator…”

The governor introduced his “Prescription for Savings” program Jan. 26 that would establish a program to resell U.S. prescription drugs imported from Canada.

Henry’s program would also create a state Web site that allows Oklahoma citizens to order cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and other industrialized countries that rely on U.S. pharmaceutical companies for their supplies.

February 02, 2005.

Manitoba Premier Remains Hopeful Internet Pharmacy Compromise Can Be Reached

(Dead Link Removed) Manitoba Premier Remains Hopeful Internet Pharmacy Compromise Can Be Reached (Source: Canadian Press)

From the article:

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer remained hopeful Monday that a federal crackdown on the Internet pharmacy industry can be averted…

Doer said… he believes a compromise can be found that will let the industry flourish… while setting rules to control the flow of cheaper Canadian drugs to underinsured and uninsured Americans.

“We can’t just throw away 2,500 jobs because of either pressure from the United States or Big Pharma here in Canada.”

January 31, 2005.

Vermont Presses Drug Companies on Pricing Issues

Vermont Presses Drug Companies on Pricing Issues (Source: Times Argus) (Dead Link)

From the article:

Tiny Vermont – with less than half a percent of the nation’s population – is exerting an outsized influence on the issue of prescription drugs.

Whether it’s in the halls of Congress, in the Statehouse in Montpelier or, this week, in a national gathering of state attorneys general at a Chicago hotel, Vermont officials and organizations are at the forefront of one of the hottest political and economic topics nationwide.

Vermont is so far the only state to sue the Food and Drug Administration over its refusal to permit state government to set up a pilot prescription drug reimportation program.

And Vermont’s actions have been noticed.

As the attorney generals met in Chicago, the pharmaceutical industry put on a nearby counter-event, offering more opulent drinks and refreshments, according to those who were there.

January 30, 2005.

Canadian Drug Cutoff Could Shift Markets

Canadian Drug Cutoff Could Shift Markets (Source: Billings Gazette) (Dead Link)

From the article:

(Tom) Kennedy also raises the possibility of a link, a quid pro quo, between the proposed change in Canada’s drug policy and plans to reopen the U.S. borders to Canadian beef. Both took place during a similar time frame and both are matters under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration, he said.

If that’s true, he said, it would be a double whammy for Montanans.

“They’d have their drugs cut off and they’d be impacted with Canadian beef coming back into the market,” he said.

Putting international and federal politics aside, the state, too, has jumped on the drug importation bandwagon. House Bill 364, sponsored by Rick Maedje of Fortine, would facilitate the mail-order purchase of drugs from Canada. A hearing on the bill took place this week. To date, it remains in committee.

January 29, 2005.

City to Offer Canadian Prescription Drug Plan

(Dead Link Removed) City to Offer Canadian Prescription Drug Plan (Source: Providence Journal)

From the article:

In a move expected to save a substantial amount of money, the city is partnering with a Canadian prescription service to enable current and retired city employees to buy their prescription drugs from north of the border.

Mayor Scott Avedisian announced the initiative this week, saying that about 1,500 past and present municipal workers will now have the option of buying their prescription drugs from Canada.

Prescription drugs cost markedly less in Canada, and the city, which is self-insured for medications and other health expenses, should save as much as 40 percent, Avedisian said.

School Department employees and retirees will not have the option; the department has its own self-insurance system. But Avedisian said that, after the city reviews its experience and savings in a few months, he probably will recommend that the schools follow the city’s lead.

January 28, 2005.

Brooks: “Extend Drug Discount”

(Dead Link Removed) Brooks: “Extend Drug Discount” (Source: WOKR)

From the article:

Discounts on prescription drugs could be available to everyone in Monroe County soon.

County Executive Maggie Brooks wants to expand a program that’s now only for people over 50.

It wouldn’t cost the county anything because it’s run through a local company that purchases the drugs.

Area resident Ted Chikey happily shovels his driveway and his neighbor’s driveway–every day. He’s on prescription drugs for blood pressure, cholesterol and thyroid problems.

“I feel terrific!” Chickey said. “I probably feel better than you do!”

Chickey turned down the Monroe County drug card in favor of getting drugs through Canada.

January 28, 2005.