Canadian Pharmacists Association

Canadian Pharmacists Association

June 29, 2005 18:19 ET

Pharmacists Welcome Drug Trade Proposals but Want Further Dialogue

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 29, 2005) - The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) welcomes Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh's statements regarding the cross border drug trade and looks forward to working on the details during the upcoming consultation process.

CPhA Executive Director, Dr. Jeff Poston, stated: "Today's news demonstrates that the Minister has listened to our concerns about the negative impacts of the cross border drug trade on Canada's health care system. These are positive steps. However, we are cautious about the feasibility of the proposals and believe that work is needed on definitions and criteria."

A key proposal announced by Health Canada would amend regulations that govern the sale of prescription drugs in Canada to require an established patient-practioner relationship. CPhA's President, George Murray, commented: "While patient-physician and patient-pharmacist relationships are an integral part of health care, further defining these in regulatory terms could be a challenge. Defining this relationship needs to be done by health care providers and their regulatory bodies."

The Minister has clearly identified the potential threat to Canada's drug supply from impending legislation in the U.S. Congress that would legalize personal and bulk prescription drug importation from Canada. CPhA is concerned that proposals to deal with drug exports might not go far enough. Said Poston: "Creating a system in which controls only kick in when a drug is judged to be in short supply may not do enough to ensure the needs of Canadian are put first. Our drug supply system is not in a position to meet the needs of Americans without access to affordable pharmaceuticals."

CPhA has long asked that a drug monitoring system be developed to identify and track shortages, and welcomes the announcement of a drug supply network. However, a number of issues will have to considered including criteria for defining a drug shortage, how data will be collected, data timeliness and options for action.

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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