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Commentary

We're Not Your Drugstore
Louise Crandall, New York Sun, 12-20-06

Crandall, a member of the Canadian Pharmacists Association, explains why Americans shouldn't look to Canada as their drugstore in the Great White North.

Buying up cheaper Canadian drugs is not going to solve the systemic woes of the American health care system, although it may save state governments and individuals some money. Moreover, has anyone thought to ask if Canada wants to—or even could—act as America's "drugstore"?

There seems to be some fairytale that a drug supply meant for 32 million Canadians can meet the needs of a market 10 times that size and that from the goodness of their hearts, pharmaceutical manufacturers will provide an infinite supply of drugs to Canada at controlled prices that are resold to America. To the contrary, a University of Texas researcher, Marv Shepherd, concluded in a 2004 study that meeting the full American demand would wipe out Canada's supply of prescription drugs in just 38 days.

As for us Canadians, what would "open season" on our drug supply mean? It would mean there wouldn't be enough drugs available to meet our demand. Canadians would face shortages of vital drugs along with higher prices. Fewer new drugs would be released in Canada, and research and development in our country would shrink.

Canada simply does not have the capacity or the desire to meet America's need for lower-cost drugs. We have to take care of our own health care needs, not provide solutions for the shortcomings of America's health care system. If Medicare Part D wasn't able to do the trick, try again. Canada isn't your medicine cabinet.



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