Canada says “enough already” to Americans buying cheaper drugs from them, and I don’t blame them. It seemed like it took a while before someone there pointed a finger and said “fix your damn healthcare system.” (AP) reports that groups in the country are moblizing to ban the export of prescription drugs. The heart of the problem is the last paragraph of the article excerpt below. Big Pharma wants to squeeze every last dollar out of the American wallet BECAUSE IT CAN.
I was asked by my endocrinologist to speak to a group of sales reps from Novartis two weeks ago. During the Q&A;, one dumbass rep actually had the nerve to ask me what I thought of the pharmaceutical industry, since his own brother rails on him about prescription drug costs.
Needless to say, I spent the next 10 minutes politely lecturing him on their role in f*cking up the American healthcare system. I turned around and asked him why did he think it said about the system that U.S. dollars are crossing the border to buy the same damn Novartis drugs in Canada for half the price.
He tried the usual weak defense of that they need to invest in R&D; to develop new drugs, blah, blah, blah…Then I reminded him of the millions spent by Big Pharma pimping marketing materials at doctors, wining and dining them and tossing more millions away on commercials on television. That’s not R&D.;
His response was “we’re in the business to make a profit and it’s necessary to meet and market to our customers — the doctors.
At least he was downright blunt about who they are actually serving, and it’s not the consumers that actually need the medicines to stay alive.
It was good I had the forum to vent, though. It was priceless to see the silent room full of long faces. I’m sure they were sorry that their colleague asked the question.
Canadians must stop Americans from using Internet pharmacies to raid its medicine chest or face a drug shortage, a coalition of Canadian groups representing seniors, pharmacies and patients has warned.
The groups, claiming to represent 10 million Canadians, or about one-third the population, called on the Canadian government Monday to ban prescription drug exports.
They argue that Canada cannot afford to address U.S. drug shortages and soaring prescription costs with its own stock, which are often considerably cheaper for Americans because of government price controls.
“It is completely untenable to think that Canada could supply their needs and our own for even one month, let along on an ongoing basis,” said Louise Binder of the Canadian Treatment Action Council and Best Medicines Coalition.
Binder said she has heard that in Winnipeg, Manitoba, there is a shortage of desperately needed cancer drugs that are readily available to American consumers through Internet pharmacies based in Canada.
Canada regulates drug prices as part of its national health care system, while the market dictates pricing in the United States. Many popular medications for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol can be bought in Canada at less than half the U.S. price.
U.S.-based drug makers Pfizer Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP and Wyeth have cut supplies to some Canadian pharmacies when they suspected orders were too large for the Canadian market and were being sold to Americans.