Drug Makers Consider Restricting Supply to Canada if Reimportation Legislation Passes
The Newark Star-Ledger on Friday examined the possibility of drug makers' limiting shipments to Canadian wholesalers if Congress passes legislation allowing U.S. residents to reimport drugs from Canada and other countries at prices below U.S. prices. Three large drug makers -- GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Wyeth -- earlier this year moved to limit supplies to wholesalers in Canada as part of an effort to guarantee Canadian patients' access to prescription drugs intended for their consumption, spokespersons for the drug makers said. Now, Canadian pharmacists worry that Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, and Merck might also reduce supplies. Andy Troszok, vice president at the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, a trade group, said "What they're trying to do is pit the Canadian health care system against the U.S. health care system. They're trying to scare Canadians by saying reimportation will be bad for them, because Americans will drain the supply of medicines." Anthony Barrueta, senior counsel for government relations at Kaiser Permanente, said, "The manufacturers will respond by establishing quotas on supplies they ship to Canada. They have a reasonably easy response and there's not much that can stop them" (Silverman, Newark Star-Ledger, 8/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.