Canadian Drug Importation

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

It is certainly interesting how elected officials can decidewhich laws are relevant and which can be ignored. Yet, theyare unwilling to give the same privilege to citizens. Whateverhappened to the concept of the "Rule of Law"?

I guess that state and local officials are simply followingthe example of the members of the US Congress, whosometimes pass laws for everyone else but exempt themselves.In an effort to achieve short-term advantages andignore long-term consequences, Canadian importationcontinues to be promoted by state and local governmentofficials as a solution to the high cost of drugs, eventhough it is against the law and knowledgeable people arespeaking out against it.

When the problem of counterfeit drugs entering the USmarket is mentioned as a consequence of such a program,some people say, "Where are the examples of citizens whohave been harmed?" That is an interesting question. Wekeep drugs off the US market until they are proven safe andeffective. Yet, supporters of importation are suggesting thatwe can use citizens as test animals, and when enough peopleare harmed then we can act. I wonder if that is reallywhat they want.

Of course, we know that most drug importation is forchronic-disease treatment. When such drugs are counterfeit,containing no or suboptimal active ingredient, theconsequence to the patient may not be realized untilmuch later, when, for example, uncontrolled blood pressurecauses serious consequences. At that point, no onemay associate the problem with earlier drug therapy. Let ushope that we do not reach the point with drug therapywhere we bury our mistakes without realizing that thecause was counterfeit drugs.