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Commentary

Drug import plan sags
USA Today, 1-3-05

USA Today says that “2004’s magic elixir for soaring drug costs”, drug importation, has too many “unpleasant side effects” to be a workable federal policy. For cynics who think the report is a whitewash, they also refer readers to statements by the Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, who has threatened to “prevent Canadian doctors from co-signing prescriptions for American patients they haven’t examined, effectively ending the cross-border drug trade.”

The “underlying problem,” the editors say, is that Canada has price controls on prescription drugs, while the U.S. doesn’t. The U.S. could adopt the Canadian approach, but “the money to research new cures will dry up.”

Instead, the editors support “guidelines that identify preferred lost-cost treatments, such as generic drugs,” which are cheaper here than anywhere else in the world. “Widespread use [of generics] could reduce drug spending by billions of dollars a year.”



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