Canadian Medical Association

Canadian Medical Association

March 24, 2005 09:59 ET

Physicians and Pharmacists Unite to Support Action on Cross-Border Sale of Drugs



MARCH 24, 2005 - 09:59 ET

Physicians and Pharmacists Unite to Support Action on
Cross-Border Sale of Drugs

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 24, 2005) - Canadian medical and
pharmacy organizations have met with Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh to
explore solutions to the concerns raised by the cross-border exports of
prescription drugs including the potential effect on the security and
availability of affordable drugs for Canadians.

Minister Dosanjh and Health Canada officials have discussed the issue of
the exporting of prescription drugs with the Canadian Medical
Association (CMA), the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA),
the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), the Federation of Medical
Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FMRAC), and the National Association
of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).

"It is encouraging to see that the national advocacy and regulatory
bodies of the medical and pharmacy professions have come together on
this issue," said Minister Dosanjh. "I am working hard with my Cabinet
colleagues to take steps to protect the Canadian drug pricing regime and
supply, as well as ensure that safe and ethical practices are

"Ensuring Canadian patients continue to have secure access to
affordable, high-quality prescription drugs when they need them must be
priority number one," said Dr. Albert Schumacher, President of the CMA.
"The Government of Canada should work with provinces and territories to
develop a comprehensive program to monitor Canada's drug supply."

Mr. Garth McCutcheon, President of the Canadian Pharmacists Association
added: "The current cross-border drug trade is not consistent with
pharmacists' vision of a sound pan-Canadian pharmaceutical strategy.
While Health Canada has a role to play in this issue, the exporting of
prescription drugs produced for Canadian patients is fundamentally a
trade issue and we look forward to working with the Government of Canada
to find solutions.

Dr. Robert Burns, President of the Federation of Medical Regulatory
Authorities of Canada (FMRAC) and Lois Cantin, President of the National
Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA)-the umbrella
associations of medical and pharmacy regulatory authorities-welcomed
Minister Dosanjh's willingness to collaboratively examine potential
solutions to this issue.

"Regulatory authorities have mobilized to clarify and inform our members
about the ethical and legal considerations involved in this issue," said
Dr. Burns. "We have acted quickly to identify and appropriately
discipline those engaged in inappropriate cross-border prescribing." Ms.
Cantin concurred, noting: "NAPRA remains optimistic the Minister will
work with us to find a solution that will resolve the issue in the
interest of public safety."

The organizations have shared with Minister Dosanjh the policies and
agreements they have developed related to physician or pharmacist
involvement in the cross-border drug trade. The groups have clearly and
repeatedly stated that aspects of the practice are unethical and not
part of either sound pharmacy or medical practice, which is founded on
the sanctity of the patient-practitioner relationship.

While there are some trade issues that need to be addressed, the
national medical and pharmacy organizations are committed to
collaborating with Minister Dosanjh on the development of options that
respect and support the traditional role of professional associations
and regulatory bodies in defining and enforcing ethical and professional


Contact Information

    Canadian Medical Association
    Heike Hemlin
    (613) 731-8610
    or 1-800-663-7336 ext. 1703
    Canadian Pharmacists Association
    Louise Crandall
    (613) 523-7877
    Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada
    Fleur-Ange Lefebvre
    Executive Director
    (613) 738-0372
    National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities
    Ken Potvin
    Executive Director
    (613) 569-9658 ext. 224
    Canadian Medical Protective Association
    Barbara Wilson
    PR Specialist
    (613) 725-2000 ext. 481