Nevada Pharmacy Board Approves Reimportation Regulations
The Nevada State Board of Pharmacy on Wednesday voted 4-3 to approve regulations that would allow state residents to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. In April, the board will hold a formal public hearing on the regulations, and, provided that the board approves them a second time, they will move to the Legislative Commission for consideration (Vogel, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/2).
The regulations would allow shipments of medications approved by FDA and Health Canada, which regulates prescription drugs in Canada, but would prohibit shipments of controlled substances or shipments from off-shore affiliates (Ryan, Las Vegas Sun, 2/26). In addition, the regulations would prohibit shipments of generic medications that are available in Canada but not the U.S. and treatments that require refrigeration (Dornan, Nevada Appeal, 3/2).
The Governor's Office of Consumer Health Assistance would provide information on a Web site about how to contact and purchase prescription drugs from four approved mail-order Canadian pharmacies inspected and licensed by the board last year. Nevada residents would have to forward prescriptions from U.S. physicians to one of the pharmacies, and Canadian law requires a Canadian physician to review and approve each prescription before shipments are sent to the U.S.
State Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley (D), who chairs the Legislative Commission, said that state residents would have the ability to order prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies over the Internet, by fax or by phone.
According to Dave McKay, director of business development for Canada Way Drugs in British Columbia, Nevada residents will save 30% to 70% on the cost of prescription drugs purchased from Canadian pharmacies. He said, "That is because of the (dollar) exchange rate and the phenomenal difference in prices between the United States and Canada" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/2).
The Retail Association of Nevada, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and some individual pharmacists oppose the regulations and have raised concerns about the safety of prescription drugs purchased from Canadian pharmacies (Nevada Appeal, 3/2).
Mary Staples of NACDS said, "We are very concerned with patient safety" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/2).
Buckley said, "This has always been a no-brainer. Do you stand up for the senior who can't afford prescription drugs or stand up for the big pharmaceutical companies?" adding, "It's a shame we have to hire Canadian pharmacies to get affordable drugs into this country" (Nevada Appeal, 3/2).