Canada to Trump: You can't take our prescription drugs

Marco Green
December 1, 2020

"Certain drugs intended for the Canadian market are prohibited from being distributed for consumption outside of Canada if that sale would cause or worsen a drug shortage", Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement.

Canadian Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, pictured in 2016, announced a new rule in response to a US plan to import drugs from Canada.

"Certain drugs intended for the Canadian market are prohibited from being distributed for consumption outside of Canada if that sale would cause or worsen a drug shortage", the ministry said.

Drugmakers have faced intense criticism from U.S. politicians - including Mr Trump - as well as insurance companies and patients' groups over the high cost of new medicines and price hikes in some older generic drugs.

"Our health care system is a symbol of our national identity and we are committed to defending it". This rule is slated to come into effect on Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in September he was willing to help other nations with pharmaceutical supplies if possible, adding that his priority was protecting the needs of Canadians.

The pandemic has already increased demands for some medicines, according to the AFP news agency. By late October, Canada had experienced 42 serious shortages, compared to about 10 shortages throughout all of 2019.

With Canada a relatively small market sourcing some 68 percent of its drugs from overseas, it was important to avoid supply disruptions, it said.

Canada's order didn't name any specific drugs that would be blocked from export.

"It is particularly disturbing that the administration is punting the responsibility for demonstrating safety and cost savings to state governments despite the clear requirement under federal law that the Secretary of HHS must certify that imported drugs both pose no additional risk to public safety and will lead to significant savings for the American consumer", said James Stansel, general counsel for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
"It does not apply to over-the-counter drugs, or to drugs manufactured in Canada or imported exclusively for the objective of export", Maddison said. "The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its efforts to ensure Canadians have access to the medications they need, when they need them", Hajdu said in the statement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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