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December 2022 - Newsletter #3

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Colorado’s Latest Canadian Drug Importation Moves Could Risk the Access to Cheaper Drugs that Americans Already Have

Moves by U.S. state politicians to import Canadian drugs in wholesale quantities “could jeopardize genuine patient access” to the Canadian medications patients already personally import from Canadian online pharmacies, warns Jack Pfeiffer, Executive Director of the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI), a national non-profit patient advocacy organization that fights for Americans’ access to the importation of safe and affordable prescription medication for personal use.

On December 5, 2022, Colorado ramped up its rhetoric to bulk import drugs from Canada into the state by applying for federal permission to do so. They join a handful of states that are representing to voters that they can get copious amounts of Canadian pharmaceuticals shipped to the states in bulk even though none of the national Canadian drug wholesalers are willing to participate. Colorado also just provided a list of the first 112 drugs they want to import.

Despite the fact that the Canadian government has already warned the states that they will step in and prohibit exports of Canadian drugs in the event that their wholesale importation plans cause or exacerbate drug shortages in Canada, “the list of drugs that Colorado is proposing to import includes several that are specialized drugs available in limited quantities or already in short supply in Canada,” says Mr. Pfeiffer.

Not surprisingly, Canada’s national media broadcaster the CBC, jumped all over this and sounded the alarm bells in an article about Colorado’s latest moves:

The reason this matters to Canadians can be summed up in nine letters: shortages.
It's already a problem: shortages occur constantly and, particularly, at present, scores of drugs are in short supply in both Canada and the U.S.
Ottawa has intermittently voiced fears for years about the potential for the gargantuan U.S. market gobbling up Canadian supplies and clearing out pharmacy shelves … [b]ut talk of importation has resurfaced in U.S. states lately. And Ottawa resumed its talk of export bans: the Trudeau government, in 2020, drafted regulations to better monitor potential shortages and restrict foreign sales of affected products.

The CPPI aptly notes that “the state wholesale importation plans are laden with extensive requirements that add layers of bureaucracy, which would take years to implement.” Even though it is a stretch to assume they might ever be implemented, if the Government of Canada doesn’t first squelch the supply of medications from Canada to the USA, Mr. Pfeiffer expects that Big Pharma will. Similarly, a previous newsletter of ours on this topic said:

This should be of little surprise as nobody can truly expect Big Pharma companies to ramp up Canada’s prescription drugs supply only to have these lower priced drugs sold back to Americans for less than the current U.S. prices, especially when Big Pharma has and continues to actively frustrate the supply of Canadian drugs by Canadian pharmacies to Americans, as widely reported in the media in the past and as directly experienced by us to this very day.

So, it is through a prohibition on exports of drugs by the Government of Canada or a reduction in supply of those drugs by Big Pharma manufacturers that “could jeopardize the genuine patient access” that Americans currently have by personally importing their medicines from certified online pharmacies in Canada, according to CPPI’s Mr. Pfeiffer.

That is why it is disappointing to many of our customers that so many politicians are chasing these apparently doomed bulk importation schemes while missing out on the opportunity to facilitate what already works for Americans -- personal prescription drug importation.

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