Canadian Pharmacists Association

Canadian Pharmacists Association

October 25, 2005 16:03 ET

CPhA: Tamiflu Demonstrates Urgent Need to Stop Drug Exports

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 25, 2005) - According to the Canadian Pharmacists Association, yesterday's announcement by Roche Canada regarding suspension of Tamiflu shipments to Canadian pharmacies demonstrates the need for Health Canada to stop the sale of Canadian drugs across the border. Roche stated this decision is the result of higher than normal demand for Tamiflu as a result of the heightened interest in avian influenza and in the absence of seasonal flu.

CPhA Executive Director Jeff Poston commented: "What is not being said is that, according to media reports, much of Canada's supply of Tamiflu is being sold at alarming rates to Americans by internet pharmacies. While only 4,000 Canadians received the drug in September, a single internet pharmacy in British Columbia claimed to be selling 400 doses a day to the U.S., at double the Canadian retail price."

The timing of this development is ironic since Health Canada is in the middle of a consultation process on federal proposals to address the cross border drug trade. In fact, these proposals would only ban the export of a drug when a shortage has been identified, and even then only on a temporary basis.

Poston concluded: "Canada is not in a crisis situation regarding the flu and we certainly do not recommend stockpiling drugs. However, this development regarding Tamiflu is a perfect example of what happens when internet pharmacies are permitted to sell Canadian drugs to the U.S. without any intervention by our government. Health Canada must address the wider issue of protecting the Canadian drug supply and end the diversion of our drugs to U.S. citizens."

The Canadian Pharmacists Association is the national organization of pharmacists, committed to providing leadership for the profession and improving the health of Canadians.

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