WSJ Examines Canadian Online Pharmacies Selling Prescription Drugs to People in the United States
The Wall Street Journal today looks at the emergence of Canadian online pharmacies, which make most of their profits by selling prescription drugs at reduced prices to patients in the United States. In particular, the province of Manitoba is home to 27 online pharmacies that have opened in the last two years, including RxNorth.com, CanadaMeds.com, MedOutletCanada.com and PayLessMeds.com. Although it is illegal, with minor exceptions, for people in the United States to import prescription medications from Canada, the FDA exercises "enforcement discretion" and does not actively prohibit the practice, an agency official said. While drug reimportation is "controversial" in both countries, the Manitoba provincial government actively supports the pharmacies as a "job-creation vehicle" and an alternative to traditional farming work, which is "drying up." According to government figures, online pharmacies have generated 700 jobs and 250 million Canadian dollars ($157 million U.S.) for the province. For example, RxNorth.com fills 1,500 prescriptions daily, employs 170 workers -- including 12 pharmacists -- and is the largest company in the 2,400-person town of Minnedosa (Baglole, Wall Street Journal, 10/10). For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat.org, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.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.