Interest in Canadian Rx Imports Is Turning Sour

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Despite the high-profile publicdebate over importation of cheap prescriptiondrugs from Canada, there islittle evidence that US consumers areflocking north of the border for theirmedication needs.

In fact, just the opposite seems to behappening in Wisconsin where stateofficials established a special Web sitein order to make it easier for residentsto obtain prescription drugs fromCanada over the Internet.

During its first 6 months in operation,the Web site transmitted fewerthan 2300 prescriptions from Wisconsinresidents, and interest in obtainingCanadian drugs via the Internet iswaning. In August, officials reportedfilling only 364 prescriptions throughthe Web site - less than half the totalnumber processed monthly during itsfirst month in operation.

For their part, Canadian officialsseem to be souring on efforts by US residentsto buy prescription drugs northof the border.

Canadian Health Minister UjjalDosanjh has raised concerns that anupsurge in US purchases of drugs frompharmacies in his country could lead topharmaceutical shortages in Canada.

Although Canadian Rx sales to USconsumers have leveled off to about$850 million annually and no immediatedrug shortage is likely in Canada,Dosanjh is nevertheless moving to discouragecross-border Rx sales by pharmaciesin his country.

According to the health minister,Canadian pharmacists and physicianswho issue prescriptions to US residentswithout first seeing the patients areacting unethically and may be subjectto disciplinary action.