(Wikimedia Commons)

Canadians worried by plan to let Americans import drugs

Trudeau pledges that Health Canada will ensure a ‘steady and solid supply’ of medications

A Trump administration plan to let Americans legally import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada is causing concern among Canadians who fear that it could cause shortages of some medications — as well as surprise by officials who say they weren’t consulted about a possible influx of U.S. drug-buyers.

The plan is a “clear and present danger” to the health and well-being of Canadians who need prescription medications, said John Adams, the volunteer chairman of the Best Medicines Coalition, a non-profit organization representing 28 national patient organizations.

Adams told The Canadian Press the existing supply of drugs in Canada is not always sufficient to meet the current needs of Canadians, let alone a sudden surge in demand from south of the border.

Diabetes Canada is one of more than a dozen organizations that signed a letter urging the Canadian government to safeguard the country’s drug supply.

“It’s clear to us that whatever measures need to be put in place to prevent, for example, large-scale importation by online pharmacies or large-scale importation by large U.S. states, has to be put in place because Canada is not structured to produce an amount of medications required for a population that size,” Kimberley Hanson, executive director of Diabetes Canada, told the CBC.

The Trump administration’s announcement also came as a surprise to Canadian health officials.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor’s office said while U.S. and Canadian officials have “mutual interest” in fostering lower drug prices, details of Wednesday’s announcement by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar were not discussed beforehand.

“While we’re aware of ongoing state-led initiatives to import Canadian drugs, we weren’t consulted on specifics,” the office said in a statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Thursday that Health Canada will ensure there is a “steady and solid supply” of medications for Canadians regardless of external or international pressures.

The Trump administration said Wednesday it will create a way for Americans to legally import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada for the first time, reversing years of refusals by health authorities at a time of public outcry over high prices for life-sustaining medications.

READ MORE: U.S. to set up plan allowing prescription drugs from Canada

The plan still has to go through time-consuming regulatory approval and could face court challenges from drugmakers.

“The landscape and the opportunities for safe linkage between drug supply chains has changed,” Azar said. “That is part of why, for the first time in HHS’s history, we are open to importation. We want to see proposals from states, distributors, and pharmacies that can help accomplish our shared goal of safe prescription drugs at lower prices.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Council briefs: Village of Queen Charlotte

NDIT applications, solar power, animal welfare, and a look ahead to Committee of the Whole

Climate, reconciliation and industry top all candidates agenda in Terrace

Debate was the candidate’s last opportunity to address voters in a public forum

Climate change, economy and reconciliation take centre stage at Oct. 15 All-Candidates Forum

Six of the eight candidates were in attendance at the Smithers event

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Most Read