GROUP SPEAKS TO SENIORS ABOUT DANGERS OF BUYING DRUGS FROM CANADA-Andrew Stelzer

12/07/04

On Monday, the American Medical Association voted to support the importation of prescription drugs by wholesalers and pharmacies, if certain conditions are met to “ensure patient safety.�--- Those conditions being that the drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the distribution path of the drugs is trackable, and congress funds the FDA in their efforts to do so. The announcement came in advance of today’s deadline for the department of Health and Human Services to report back to congress on the safety of importing drugs from Canada. At the Westshore Senior center in Tampa, several members of the Coalition to Protect health care access—a group opposed to Americans buying drugs from Canada-- came to speak to a group of about 60 seniors about the dangers of buying drugs from Canadian pharmacies over the internet.

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ACT “There's been a fundamental shift of opinion, not because we don’t like you…

Chris Ward was formerly the parliamentary assistant to the minister of health in Ontario, Canada.

ACT many groups did it because they believe the cross border threatens our supply of drugs, it could create shortages, by making us a destination. Now ultimately

There are several reasons ward gave for why people should not buy cheaper drugs from Canadian pharmacies, something which has increasingly become a survival mechanism for millions of seniors who cant afford the high cost of their medications. Dr Joel Rose a member of the Florida Osteopathic medical association said that on-line Canadian pharmacies are buying their drugs from other sources and countries, some of which don’t have inspection agreements. The health minister of Canada will not guarantee safety of drugs going from Canada to the US.

ACT ‘A lot of things you think are coming from Canada aren’t coming from there, many come from Iran or china all kinds of other countries, because there’s no way they can meet the demand.

Governors in 10 US states have set up web sites to help citizens buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, despite the fact that its against federal law. But Durhane Wong-Rieger, who works with the Anemia Institute of Canada, noted that drugs sold over the internet don’t have to be labeled in terms of where they are from originally, they only have to be labeled with the country they most recently came from. For example, pills from Thailand, which were bottled in England, could be sold to the US, with labels that say it come from England Rieger she says the issue of Canada running out of drugs is a major concern.

ACT “We have a lot of concerns about how we see the us addressing prescription drugs…Canadians are concerned because of our supply, but not juts that. Our estimate is that if we were to sell to all of California, it would wipe out the entire supply of Canada for 1 month.�

Ward, who also works as a consultant for several drug companies, says he thinks the major reason that drug prices in the US are so high is because of the high cost of liability insurance that doctors have to pay, and that tort reform is the answer. He also recommended that patients ask fro free samples from doctors if they cant afford medication, buy in bulk, use generics.

ACT “Canada’s food and drug act exempts products that come into the country…one group was able to keep inspectors from looking in their pharmacy�

Lori Radis is the supervisor of the westshore senior center, WMNF asked her how many of the seniors there order drugs from Canada.

ACT “I think right now a small percentage, but after this they may realize they can get them at a lesser cost..SO IT MAY ALERT PEOPLE TO THE FACT THAT THERES AN OPTION? There’s a choice…

Those who watched the presentation had mixed reactions. Walter turner volunteers teaching computers at the senior center and his wife participates in activities there.

ACT ‘I had a mixed message, I ordered for my wife, it costs her less, it appears to be the same, I never thought about some of the things, but ill talk to a doctor about it, and continue to do it…�

Marie Knight says she learned a lot from the presentation.

ACT ‘I ENJOYED HIM COMING AND TELLING HIM WHAT TO DO, AND WHEN I GO HOME TIS EVENING ILL SIT DOWN AND TALK TO MY GIRLS ABOUT IT, AND TELL THME WHAT I HEARD TODAY…I APPRECIATE IT…�

Chuck Norlin was playing cards at the senior center after the talk, he says he hasn’t changed his mind.

ACT ‘I've been buyin em for 3 years, they deliver, my cost is less, I have no coverage, I went to different, how much do you spend a month—300 or more, I think its an excellent way of getting cost savings…so where do you think these folks are coming from? I don’t know…..no I’ve had no trouble,

WMNF spoke to Durhane Wong-Rieger about the different priorities of Americans and Canadians in respect to what needs to be done to make prescription drugs affordable.

ACT “It is up to government to do something now..why do we need to wait for a sack of bodies, if you want to see real bodies ..I don’t think we should wait..I THINK A LOT OF AMERICAS THINK ITS THE DRUG AND INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE YOU LOBBYING?…yes we believe the gov should be doing what they do in Canada, are drug prices going to rise, the price of drugs has gone up less than. There are more people on drugs…Are you in conservation ..we do both, we talked to reps, one is to make sure that there are

To contact the coalition to protect healthcare access, call 407-894-6301

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