Minnesota Program Sees Fewer Foreign Medication Sales
Sales of prescription drugs through Minnesota RxConnect, a state-sponsored program that helps residents purchase medications from Canada and Great Britain, last month "plunged to their lowest levels," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The program, started more than two years ago by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), provides online links and phone numbers to Canadian and British pharmacies.
The program provides a price-comparison tool, allowing users to compare drug prices at Minnesota drug stores. It is the first such program in the nation and "is considered the most successful" of its kind, according to the Star Tribune.
However, sales of imported prescription drugs fell to $30,417 last month, a 30% decrease from sales in May and a significant drop from January's peak sales figure of $153,000. Sales dropped by about half since the start of the Medicare drug benefit; Medicare beneficiaries are the primary customers of Minnesota RxConnect, the Star Tribune reports.
According to the Star Tribune, the program has never been a "major source of medications for residents." If sales continue to fall, officials say they might have to end the program.
Karen Smigielski -- a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which operates the program -- said, "I don't think we've hit that point" (Wolfe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7/12).