Canada Warns Exporting Drugs Could Cause Drug Shortage

The Trump administration has proposed importing prescription drugs from other countries to help drive down the high costs of medications in the U.S., but Canadian officials recently voiced their opposition to this plan, warning that it could cause drug shortages for Canadian citizens.

“Canada does not support actions that could adversely affect the supply of prescription drugs in Canada and potentially raise costs of prescription drugs for Canadians,” according to a briefing for government officials.

The document alleges that most U.S. proposals have not provided enough details to accurately assess the potential impact but cites a 2010 study which estimated that if 10% of U.S. prescriptions were filled from Canada, Canada’s drug supply would be completely depleted after 224 days.

Health Canada, the Federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health, has confirmed that the government has not changed its stance since the talking points were prepared. Ministry officials have reiterated their commitment to “ensure Canadians have uninterrupted access to the prescription drugs they need.”

Drug importation has gained popularity as a way to rein in U.S. drug prices, with at least 10 states having passed or proposed laws allowing importation; however, many of these proposals still require federal approval before actual shipments can take place.

Source: Reuters, July 18, 2019