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Canadian Drug Sales To U.S. To Continue, For Now

The Canadian health minister has proposed cracking down on abuses in shipments of drugs to the United States. But for now, Canadian suppliers say they're still open for business.
The Canadian health minister's crackdown on the sale of medications to U.S. customers over the Internet is a non-starter, at least for now, as Canadian suppliers say they are still open for business.

Andy Troszok, president of a group of online medication suppliers, hailed the measures outlined in recent days by Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, who proposed cracking down on abuses in shipments of drugs to the U.S.

"He made proposals in three areas," said Troszok, who is president of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA). "First, he wants to do something about bulk shipments."

Troszok said CIPA approves of Canadian health authorities regulating bulk shipments of medicines, which can involve the delivery of thousands of bottles of medicines over borders. "We never approved of this anyway," said Troszok.

Second, Dosanjh wants to establish a "monitoring system," Troszok noted, adding that CIPA agrees that a monitoring system, which would likely involve additional policing of the online medication business, should be established. He added that CIPA also endorses the third proposal -- examining and possibly revising the role of physicians in online drug shipments.

Dosanjh's proposals are dynamic and haven't been spelled out in detail yet. On one hand he said: "Canada cannot be the drugstore of the United States." This led some to believe he had set his gunsights on the $1 billion Canadian Internet pharmacy industry.

But then he said: "It has never been my intention to kill the industry I know the industry will work with us and I'm sure they will adapt to the changing situation because it's in the best interest of Canadians."

That is exactly what Troszok says he and CIPA plan to do -- work with the Canadian government to avoid a crisis. Troszok operates a mail order pharmaceutical fulfillment firm that does business with U.S. citizens, many of whom can save 50 percent by purchasing their medications online.

Another online medication supplier, David Chan, said his business continues to operate as usual, and he expects the Canadian health minister to spell out his proposals in greater detail in the fall.

"It's business as usual for our [online] pharmacy and we are continuing to dispense every order," said Chan, who owns, in a statement. "The Health Minister's plan still has to be legislated, and it is not necessarily adverse to our practice. The bottom line is that we may face some regulatory changes, but this trade will continue."

"Our philosophy is that it is better to regulate this practice in the sunshine so our patients know that they are receiving approved drugs from licensed sources.