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For a long time, Americans who are increasingly facing low supplies and high costs have been heading north to purchase their prescription drugs at stores in Canada. The volume of business is expected to be millions of prescriptions filled every year. And during recent elections, many candidates ran on platforms seeking to legalize the practice that many citizens are engaging in whether it is illegal or not.
To combat both the election hopefuls and the United States citizens who are currently ignoring the pricy prescription drugs on American shelves, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is claiming that many imported drugs are unsafe. There is more evidence to the contrary, however.
Many of the prescription drugs that are available on American pharmacy shelves quite legally, are already manufactured in and shipped from foreign countries. This is counter to the PRMA’s assertions that imported drugs are unfit or dangerous. Many industry insiders agree that the association is representing solely the interests of American pharmaceutical companies, who directly benefit from inflated drug prices. Like many other countries, Canada’s prescription drugs, like the prescription drugs of every industrialized nation with the exception of the United States, are kept relatively inexpensive due to price controls.
The FDA is in step with the PRMA, although it is similarly vague in assertions that buying prescription drugs in Canada is dangerous. In an interview with Kiplinger’s, William Hubbard, the FDA’s associate commissioner for policy and learning, stated “We know there are good drugs and bad drugs in Canada, but we can’t tell you which ones are which.”
The fact is, most Canadian prescription drugs are not FDA approved, however Canadian food and drug standards are comparable to those of the United States’, and the argument that Canadian prescription drugs are unsafe, remains fairly unsupported. So far, the stream of American buyers seems to indicate the belief that buying prescription drugs from a reputable Canadian drug store is only dangerous to the large American pharmaceutical companies who have a vested interest in keeping drug prices high.