Canada's Internet Pharmacies

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    Internet pharmacy association to study issue of large U.S. contracts

    Thu Jul 29, 8:10 PM ET

    MICHELLE MACAFEE

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...0/ca_pr_on_he/cda_us_drugs&cid=2155&ncid=2155

    WINNIPEG (CP) - The association representing Canada's Internet pharmacies will spend the next two months revisiting its opposition to large contracts with U.S. cities and states before deciding whether the much-publicized policy should stand.

    The outcome could have sweeping implications for the Canadian International Pharmacy Association and the course it charts in its ongoing struggle to defend its industry against criticism it will drain the Canadian drug supply.

    Executive director David MacKay said Thursday the association's seven-member board has struck a committee that will hear from Health Canada, Canadian patients and various U.S. politicians who have expressed interest in importing drugs from Canada to subsidize employee and pension benefit plans.

    "We don't want to make it look like we're just fluffing our way through it," said MacKay.

    "We want the committee to hear all the different viewpoints."

    Total Care Pharmacy, a company owned by board member Daren Jorgenson, appears to have violated one of the organization's most publicized policies by agreeing to sell cheap prescription drugs to as many as 14,000 City of Boston employees and retirees.


    MacKay has repeatedly said association members would not enter into "commercial fulfilment" contracts that would effectively subsidize state and city budgets.

    He said earlier this week disciplinary action could be taken against Jorgenson.

    But Jorgenson defended his deal, which he said was intended in part to make a statement about the politically charged issue of drug importation at the time of the U.S. Democratic convention in Boston.


    He said the contract won't hurt the Canadian drug supply because he doesn't expect more than 200 new orders a week.


    For now, the current policy against large commercial orders will stand, said MacKay.


    No disciplinary action was taken against Jorgenson and his specific case won't be discussed again until after the committee files its report, likely the end of September, said MacKay.

    Drug makers and patient advocates say the Internet pharmacy industry will lead to drug shortages in Canada. Health Canada says it has found no evidence of any problems.

    MacKay said he doesn't expect Jorgenson's contract to immediately open any floodgates of drugs heading south.

    "There's no immediate threat to the Canadian drug supply because we haven't got people lined up at our door."
     

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