Michael M. Perhach III

“The New York State Board of Pharmacy licenses pharmacies to provide standards of practice to protect our citizens. Who is protecting our citizens from Canadian and other out-of-state firms?”

In an editorial entitled Local Pharmacies Contribute to Quality of Community’s Life, Binghamton pharmacist Michael M. Perhach III wrote the above statement.  While I agree with his points about the importance of keeping money in one’s community, I would like to challenge the notion that dealing with Canadian pharmacies somehow leaves citizens unprotected.

Who is protecting us when we shop at Canadian pharmacies?

I believe that Andrew Strempler, President and CEO of RX North, answers this question much more eloquently than I ever could: RX North’s Regulatory Agencies page (Dead Link).

May 26, 2006.

State Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley

“It was pretty clear that our national policies are a disgrace.”

State Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley was referring to prescription drug policies in the United States.

State Assemblywoman Buckley sits on the legislative committee that approved new rules allowing Nevadans to buy Canadian prescription drugs.

Source: Online Canadian Prescription Drugs Available to Nevadans (KLASTV)

May 06, 2006.

Congressman Gil Gutknecht

“It would be devastating if someone gets sick or dies because someone’s drugs were confiscated… It is amazing that we have a government that can’t control our borders to illegal immigration and literally tons of illegal narcotic drugs that are coming into this country every day, but by God they can stop Grandma from saving $50 on her prescription drugs.”

US Representative Gil Gutknecht, a Minnesota Republican, is a staunch supporter of imported drugs.

Source: US Steps Up Seizures of Imported Drugs (Boston Globe)

May 03, 2006.

Nancy Popkin

“The implication is that I have done something illegal, unpatriotic. I think it’s ludicrous… I don’t go for that kind of baloney… But think how many people get scared out of their wits.”

Nancy Popkin is a financial advisor in her seventies.  She has been buying Fosamax from Canadian pharmacies for years.  She recently recieved a warning letter from the government.

Source: US Steps Up Seizures of Imported Drugs (Boston Globe)

April 21, 2006.

Estelle Kresch

“Why would I worry? No matter where they are from, they are from the manufacturer. To me, the key words are ‘factory sealed package’… As long as I can save $50 or $80, I have to do it.”

Boca Raton retiree Estelle Kresch is a longtime customer of Canadian drugs.

Source: Canada’s Cheaper Drugs Come Under Increasing Pressure (South Florida Sun-Sentinel / February 19th, 2005)

February 22, 2005.

Joe R. Granieri

“I just received my sixth Canadian prescription drug order. The cost was $168 total for 300 pills. The same prescription, brand and strength, here is $604. This may not be significant to the FDA, but it sure is to me.”

Mr. Granieri was commenting on a federal task force’s claim that importing drugs from Canada would not be significantly cheaper.

Source: I’ll Take Chances with Canada’s Drugs (Arizona Republic / January 11th, 2005)

January 10, 2005.

Governor Tim Pawlenty

“The Canadian government should not slam the door on American consumers seeking more affordable prescription medicines from safe Canadian pharmacies. The proposed change in Canada’s prescription drug policy would have serious effects on the pocketbooks and well-being of the more than 2 million Americans who buy their prescription medicines from Canada.”

December 31, 2004.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

“President Bush must stop serving as a handmaiden for the pharmaceutical industry.”

Source: Detroit News / December 26th, 2004

December 27, 2004.

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer

“I would suggest strongly that instead of Mr. Dosanjh folding like a cheap suit on this issue with the United States, that he would be aware of the decisions and the stand Ms. McLellan had when she was minister of health.”

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer was talking about Canada Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh’s plans to crack down on Canadian online pharmacies shortly after a visit by US President George W. Bush.

Mr. Dosanjh’s predecessor had no problems with the cross-border drug trade and, strangely enough, neither did Mr. Dosanjh prior to the President’s visit.

December 18, 2004.

Canada Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh

“There are lobby groups saying the situation… is more serious than we believe it to be.”

Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh was speaking at the Harvard University and said this when asked by an audience member whether Canadians were being “needlessly scared” about Internet pharmacy sales.

Dosanjh suggested some lobbying groups in Canada might be exaggerating the issue.

Dosanjh said he saw no evidence of supply shortages in Canada, with annual Internet pharmacy sales appearing to have plateaued at about $600 million, but he said Ottawa was monitoring the matter closely.

Source: Reuters AlertNet UK / November 10th, 2004

November 11, 2004.

Doctor Erik Steele – Administrator at Eastern Maine Medical Center

“On the issue of rising prescription drug costs, it would be helpful… if we could get President Bush to act more like the CEO of America and less like the CEO of a pharmaceutical company. His administration has resisted… re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada, arguing those medications may not be safe. That argument is so thin you would be arrested for wearing it at the beach, as evidenced by the recent efforts of the administration to re-import influenza vaccine from Canada.”

Bangor Daily News / November 9th, 2004.

November 10, 2004.

Rick Borgwardt

“In Canada, we trust.”

Rick Borgwardt is a 66-year-old emphysema patient who received a potentially lifesaving flu shot from Canada.  The flu shot was imported by Dr. Philip O’Keefe of the California Pacific Medical Center after a three-week struggle with the FDA.  Borgwardt says he has no concerns about the safety of the vaccine from Canada.

Flu Shots Fly in from Canada – Vaccine Dearth Prompts S.F. Doctor to Import His Own Supply (San Francisco Chronicle / November 2nd, 2004)

November 03, 2004.

Canada Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh

“To date there’s no evidence of such (drug shortages). I think it’s important that we not cause panic on this issue by going away from the facts and the facts are that these (Internet pharmacy) sales have stabilized at about C$850 million ($697 million) a year… There might be anecdotal evidence out there but I can tell you we monitor these issues regularly, Health Canada does, and I’m advised there’s no evidence of shortages. If there is evidence of shortages then Health Canada would make sure that whatever that drug is, is held for Canadian use.”

Health Minister Dosanjh also said there was no evidence to back industry assertions that some medicines for diabetics are in short supply.

Source: Canada to Act if US Drug Demand Triggers Shortage (Reuters / October 28th, 2004)

October 30, 2004

Brad Heavner, Maryland Public Interest Research Group Director

“It is fundamentally unfair that drug companies are allowed to use near-monopoly powers to gouge American consumers.  People without drug coverage are being forced to subsidize giant pharmaceutical companies with tremendous profit margins.”

Source: Lower Prescription Drug Prices Possible, Says Nonprofit’s Study (Baltimore Chronicle / October 21st, 2004)

October 22, 2004

Doctor Peter Rost, A Vice President of Marketing with Pfizer Inc.

“Holding up a vote on importation, stopping good importation bills has a high, high cost not just in money, but in American lives. Every day we delay, Americans die because they cannot afford life-saving drugs.”

Source: Insider Challenges Drug Industry on Imports (New York Times / September 24th, 2004)

September 24, 2004

Senator Byron L. Dorgan

“Miracle drugs offer no miracles for people who cannot take them (because of the cost).”

Source: Insider Challenges Drug Industry on Imports (New York Times / September 24th, 2004)

September 24, 2004

Doctor Peter Rost, A Vice President of Marketing with Pfizer Inc.

“Drugs from Canada are absolutely, positively safe… What has been said (by Internet opponents) about Canadian drugs is, quite frankly, insulting, I would think, if I were a Canadian. Let’s get real. It’s exactly the same product that the same (pharmaceutical) companies are selling in Canada that they are selling in the U.S.”

Doctor Rost was quoted during a telephone interview with the Winnipeg Free Press. He said pharmaceutical companies are using safety to disguise their real motive of protecting profits. Rost has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for 20 years and said it’s common for large drug firms in northern Europe to import cheaper drugs made in southern European countries.

Source: Canadian Net Drugs Safe (Globe Technology / September 17th, 2004)

Editor’s Note:

Before joining Pfizer, Rost worked for Wyeth-Ayerst/Lederle Laboratories, serving as its director of European commercial operations from 1996 to 1998. During that time, he said, he never heard any European government or regulatory agency raise safety concerns.

Source: Surprise Support For Drug Importing – Pfizer Official Backs Montgomery Plan (Washington Post / September 14th, 2004)

September 21, 2004

Jean Chretien, Canada’s Former Prime Minister

“Do you think we’re crazy in Canada – that we would let people sell unsafe drugs?  Do you think that as prime minister I would face the Canadian people and say, ‘Too bad, you know, but we don’t inspect drugs?’… I hope you agree with me that we’re not that uncivilized.  It’s a very cheap argument that I have to reject very strongly.”

Mr. Chretien was responding to a question about the FDA using the safety argument in their attempts to discourage citizens from buying discounted drugs from Canada.

Source: Chretien Defends Canadian Drugs (Des Moines Register / September 16th, 2004)

September 20, 2004

Doctor Peter Rost, A Vice President of Marketing with Pfizer Inc.

“[Drug importation] has been proven to be safe in Europe. The real concern about safety is about people who do not take drugs because they cannot afford it. The safety issue is a made-up story.”

Doctor Peter Rost endorsed a proposal before the Montgomery County Council to allow county employees to buy lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada. He decided to support the concept because he was tired of hearing colleagues say the practice is a health risk.

Source: Surprise Support For Drug Importing – Pfizer Official Backs Montgomery Plan (Washington Post / September 14th, 2004)

September 16, 2004

Doctor Daniel Mongiardo, U.S. Senate Candidate

“(The new Medicare law) is the equivalent of forcing every American to purchase their car at sticker price. It’s a blatant giveaway of taxpayer dollars to drug companies.”

Doctor Mongiardo said that he would seek passage of a bill to require the federal government to use the buying power of the 42 million seniors in the Medicare program to negotiate cheaper drug prices and supports the re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

Source: Cutting Drug Costs Debated (Louisville Courier Journal / September 9th, 2004)

September 09, 2004

San Francisco Pharmacist John Gelinas

“I get people that are going online and checking prices and saying ‘Wow, I can buy this drug up in Canada for a third of the price you’re charging me here,’ and I don’t have anything to respond other than the fact that I say, ‘Jeez, you better go do it.'”

Source: Drugstores Sue Makers Over Prices (CBS News / August 27th, 2004)

August 27, 2004

Connie Mack IV

At the core of America’s prescription drug crisis is our antiquated trade policy with Canada and other nations that prohibits the importation of safe and proven prescription drugs. These trade barriers serve only to hurt the people who often need these medicines the most. Importing prescription drugs from Canada and other nations is one step that we can easily take toward making health care more affordable and available for everyone.

Source: Election 2004 – Connie Mack IV (The News Press / August 28th, 2004)

August 27, 2004