A Captive Market

Until the practice was outlawed, senior citizens by the busload crossed the border from Maine into Canada to fill their prescriptions. By this means they paid a fraction of what they would have paid at home.

Canadian online pharmacies still provide an option for Americans who want to save money, but importing prescription drugs is against the law. This is not a matter of importing in quantity for resale. Simply filling a personal prescription from a pharmacy outside the US is illegal.

This law forces all of us to pay a huge premium that benefits the pharmaceutical industry while threatening the health of American citizens.

A few examples: Prozac at Canada Prescription Plus costs $0.46 per pill. At our local Walgreen’s Prozac costs $11.72 per pill.

Aripiprazole is the generic form of Abilify, the most easily tolerated antipsychotic drug developed so far. It sells for $0.26 per pill through CanadaDrugStop. At CVS in Berkeley it sells for $26.33 per pill.

Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can cause blindness and brain damage. The cost per pill is $1.09 through Canada Pharmacy Online. At Walgreen’s in Berkeley it’s $815.69 per pill.

Many Americans cannot afford to pay for the medicines they need. Some must choose between paying rent and filling their prescriptions. Some take drugs meant for dogs and cats.

Most often people living on the edge simply do without. And these days more Americans are living on the edge.

The FDA argues that this law protects Americans against the dangers of inferior drugs imported from Canada. But Canada is not a backward country that suffers from poor product regulation. There is no record of an American suffering from the ill effects of a Canadian drug.

This law is not designed to protect us. It protects the pharmaceutical industry, which reaps obscene profits in this country. It’s time to repeal this law. It’s time for American citizens to join the rest of the world and enjoy the benefits of the free market.