The Illusion of Cheaper Drugs From Canada

sale.jpgThe Governor of Montana, following a line of other politicians over the years, is promoting the idea of that state purchasing drugs for publicly run health care programs from Canada . However, for a number of reasons, such ideas have never gained any traction.
The position of the FDA has been rather clear, Canadian drugs are not US NDC (National Drug Code) products, and therefore are adulterated versions of the drugs they purport to be. Since the source of the drugs is not the US regulatory system, the drugs are “potentially” dangerous. As we pointed out on a previous posts (click: here and here), the actual danger was largely caused by Canadian and US drug officials themselves.
In reality, though, the name brand drugs being used by Canadians are in fact the very same drug as are offered in the United States , only in Canada the drugs are cheaper due not only market forces, but also government price controls. Americans pay more for drugs because the United States does not have any government restrictions on prices. Intellectual property rights in Canada and the US protect the right of one manufacturer to control the price of a name brand drug, therefore the price is what the market will bear; and Americans are generally willing to pay more for their name brand drugs than to allow the government to regulate commerce in the way Canada does.
The same is not true with respect to generic drugs. Generic drugs are name brand drugs whose intellectual property rights have expired, allowing any manufacturer to make and sell the drugs. The price of generic drugs in Canada is the same or more expensive than generic drugs in the United States because the prices of generic drugs are controlled solely by the market, since there are multiple manufacturers.
Typically, the only generic drugs that people attempt to import into the United States tends to be controlled substances. This is not due not to government pricing restrictions, but government availability restrictions. When the DEA began aggressively pursuing internet pharmacies in 2002 and pain management now, one aspect of that enforcement was to warn manufacturers and distributors that they would hold them accountable for the distribution of too many of their drugs and particularly to suspect providers, warning that their DEA registrations were at issue. In one instance, the DEA certificate for a major wholesaler was suspended for its Florida location because the supplier distributed too many controlled substances to suspect providers. This led many internet pharmacies to move off shore and some suppliers to illegally import controlled substances.
For more, click: here.