NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 9, 2004

In order to meet the demand for low-cost drugs among U.S. residents and to counter the efforts by American drugmakers to limit their supplies, some Canadian pharmacies are beginning to buy drugs from Europe and elsewhere around the world.

  • Reduced supplies have hurt some Canadian pharmacies as they begin to run low on certain popular medications such as Lipitor, Celebrex and Norvasc.
  • Already, some Canadian pharmacies are asking customers if they are willing to accept drugs from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, or even Chile.
  • Some pharmacies are limiting their drug purchases from countries with manufacturing facilities that are approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Nonetheless, FDA Associate Commissioner William Hubbard says he fears such activity could lead to harmful or illegitimate drugs, warning that market forces will increasingly drive these pharmacies to find supplies that are more distant from the FDA approval process.

Source: Julie Appleby, "Drug Search Spreads Beyond Canada," USA Today, September 7, 2004.


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