Canadian Pharmacists Association

Canadian Pharmacists Association

November 02, 2006 14:32 ET

Pharmacists Welcome Drug Export Bill ...With a Reservation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 2, 2006) - The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) welcomes Bill C-378 as a critical step forward but believes it does not go quite far enough. Tabled by M.P. Dr. Carolyn Bennett, the Bill would amend the Food and Drugs Act to provide any Minister of Health with the authority to ban bulk drug exports. Brian Stowe, CPhA's president, commented, "This bill is a positive step since the government in power has demonstrated little interest in this potentially explosive issue. However, CPhA believes that any legislation should ban personal drug exports, as well as bulk exports."

At its peak in 2003, the cross border drug trade was valued at over a billion dollars. Negative impacts on Canada's drug supply included drug shortages, price increases by manufacturers, and delays in the launch of new products. Stowe continued, "Developments in the US now indicate that the American government could soon legalize the import of drugs from Canada, which could have a devastating impact on the supply of drugs meant for Canadians."

The US president has just signed a bill that, in effect, supports Americans importing prescription drugs for personal use. There are also bills before the US Congress and Senate that would legalize bulk drug imports from Canada. With a newly elected Congress and Senate, indications are high that these bills will be passed next year, legalizing for the first time both bulk and personal retail importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

Stowe continued, "Canada needs to protect itself from having our drug supply drained, which will occur if the US passes this legislation. The cross border drug trade does not appear to be on the agenda of the current government. We believe that acting only after US bills are passed and Canadians are experiencing drug shortages is not an adequate response on the part of the Canadian government. The government will have to act sooner or later - and sooner is preferred. An important first step would be to pass Bill 378."

The Canadian Pharmacists Association is the national organization of pharmacists, committed to advancing the profession of pharmacy so as to contribute to the health of Canadians.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Pharmacists Association
    (information or to arrange an interview)
    Louise Crandall
    Manager, Public Affairs
    613-523-7877 #267