NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 18, 2004

A task force led by the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that savvy shoppers can find cheaper prescription drugs in American pharmacies.

In addition to the task force's preliminary findings, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun a supplementary price analysis using a CanadaRx drug shipment that was intercepted by U.S. customs agents in Miami.

The shipment's 439 packages contained 881 drugs with invoices showing the price American consumers were charged. The FDA determined that:

  • Amiodarone, a drug to correct rapid heartbeat, was found to cost almost 3 times as much as its purchase price in the United States.
  • A diuretic used to treat hypertension cost $13 to order from Canada and $15 to ship; the generic drug's price is $5 at an American corner drug store.

According to FDA associate commissioner for policy and planning, William Hubbard, fully half of the intercepted drugs had generic equivalents that were cheaper in the United States and were approved by the government agency.

Source: Associated Press, "Task Force Says U.S. Drug Prices Can Beat Canadian Imports," Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2004.


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