Community pharmacists call on B.C. government to press feds on restricting American access to Canadian drugs

July 31, 2019

Vancouver, BC (July 31, 2019) – Today the United States moved one step closer to allowing the importation of Canadian drugs south of the border. Announced this morning, the “Safe Importation Action Plan” lays out potential steps to import Health Canada approved medications to lower the costs for Americans.

This plan has the potential to devastate the supplies of life-saving medications for British Columbians.

That’s why the pharmacists of British Columbia are calling on provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix to press the federal government and Health Canada to put in place legislation or regulations to restrict the U.S. importation of Canadian drugs.

“British Columbia has an aging population who will require more medications. Already we consistently see drug shortages for patients in our province. B.C. and the rest of Canada can not manage the drug supply for both Canadians and consumers from a country with 10 times the population as ours,” said Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association.

In a survey done last year, the majority of British Columbians (71%) were concerned about drug shortages, and more than one-third (32%) had either personally experienced or knew someone who had experienced a drug shortage in the last three years.

Not surprisingly, Canadians over the age of 60 had concerns about drug shortages. Nearly two-thirds of Canadian seniors were prescribed five or more different drug classes.

British Columbia has an aging population that is growing; nearly one in four British Columbians will be older than 65 by 2031. And it’s expected that B.C.’s senior population will exceed the national average.

“Drug shortages do not seem to be going away,” Vance said. “Pharmacists are concerned for patients. This can be a life-or-death situation.”

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About the BC Pharmacy Association

The British Columbia Pharmacy Association is a not-for-profit professional association that represents more than 3,200 pharmacists and more than 900 pharmacies throughout British Columbia. Recognized as the voice for community pharmacy, the Association aims to support and advance the professional role and economic viability of its members so they may provide enhanced patient-centred care.

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