(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

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Tech consortium invests $25 million into four University of Victoria research projects

Investments come with goal of developing, implement technologies created by Canadians

Organizers seek input for long-awaited Oaklands community garden

Oswald Park Community Garden Design Workshop coming up on Jan. 19

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

PHOTOS: Braves beat Storm in shootout at the Brindy

Saanich won 4-3 Saturday night in Campbell River

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read