List of "Safe" Canadian Pharmacies Stirs New Controversy

DECEMBER 01, 2004
Ken Rankin

Efforts by US community pharmacy groups to discourage cross-border sales of prescription drugs from Canada became more complicated with the release of a controversial new "Safe List" that purports to identify trustworthy Internet suppliers of cheap Canadian drugs.

In announcing the new list, officials of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) said that seniors and other US consumers can now buy prescription drugs on-line without fear because the pharmacies on the list have been verified as "legitimate."

According to the officials, for each on-line pharmacy listed, the group verifies the site's provincial pharmacy license and "ensures that it complies with rigorous quality standards."

CIPA is a Winnipeg-based mailorder pharmacy group. The officials said that they compiled the "Safe List" because US "consumers needed a credible method to distinguish between legitimate and dubious on-line pharmacies"—a chore that "no US agency, including the FDA," has agreed to undertake.