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12:00 AM
 | 
Jan 10, 2005
 |  BioCentury  |  Politics, Policy & Law

Canada's turn on drug exports

Whether by design or by luck, the Bush administration may be relieved of its quandary over how to prevent drug importation from Canada. Concerned that exports to the U.S. could endanger Canada's ability to provide its citizens with price-controlled drugs - and according to some critics, fearing for the health of its beef exports - the government in Ottowa is mulling over a range of options that would reduce or eliminate cross-border Internet and mail-order sales.

Although the White House firmly opposes prescription drug importation, it is reluctant to antagonize Republican proponents of the practice and it isn't clear whether Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) can keep importation legislation off the Senate floor indefinitely. Nor have the White House or FDA been eager to take on state and local governments that have been setting up their own import programs.

America's northern neighbor apparently is ready to solve the problem for the U.S. administration, which would spare Bush the difficulty of deciding whether to veto import legislation. Cutting supplies from Canada would defuse the issue because there is far less political support for allowing imports from Mexico or Europe.

Canadian Minister of Health Ujjal Dosanjh plans to intensify regulation over pharmacies that ship drugs to the U.S., according to spokesperson Adele Blanchard. Options under...

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