Canadian Internet Pharmacies : Pharmacists protest importation of medicines from Canadian Internet pharmacies
The Illinois Pharmacists Association (IPhA) and the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy held a joint news conference today, calling on Governor Rod Blagojevich to cease efforts to purchase prescription drugs for Illinois employees and retirees from Canadian Internet pharmacies. The two pharmacists organizations believe that a state sanctioned importation program is dangerous health policy that could have serious ramifications for U.S. and Canadian patients.
Illinois pharmacists believe that by sidestepping the carefully constructed system of regulatory controls surrounding prescription medicines, Governor Blagojevich would place patients at risk by minimizing or even eliminating the role of the pharmacist. IPhA also believes that Internet- driven importation could open up the state's market to compromised or even counterfeit products.
"If you fragment and reduce the level of pharmaceutical care to patients, especially with chronic illnesses, you increase their health risks," said Scott Drabant, RPh, President of the Illinois Pharmacists Association. "Under the Governor's plan, some of our most vulnerable citizens will be asked to use multiple pharmacies, reduce face-to-face counseling, and depend on whatever advice they can get from across a phone line or Internet connection. Leading pharmacy and medical associations across Canada and the U.S. are opposed to Internet importation because of the lack of safeguards it provides patients. Governor Blagojevich should heed the advice of health professionals and place patient safety first."
Meanwhile, Manitoba pharmacists are concerned that importation would divert massive amounts of medicines and pharmacy care from Manitoba, where most Canadian Internet pharmacies are based, to states like Illinois.
"What Governor Blagojevich is doing is irresponsible, and places politics and money before the welfare of the patient," said Lothar Dueck, President of the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy. "Before the Governor embarks on a program that purchases medicines from Canadian Internet pharmacies, he should speak with health professionals in Canada. In Manitoba alone, pharmacists are already reporting drug shortages and prices are rising for the first time in years. Our organization is deeply concerned that Gov. Blagojevich's plan could cause a public health crisis in Manitoba and across Canada."
Governor Blagojevich's plan would cover 230,000 Illinois employees and retirees, an amount that is equal to almost a quarter of the population of Manitoba. Both organizations believe that burdening provincial health systems through a massive importation program is unethical and that the appropriate means to ensure access to affordable medicines is through the establishment of a comprehensive Medicare drug benefit.
|November 12, 2003||© Yenra ®|