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Drug Importation Must Extend to the EU and Japan, Not Just Canada

According to a story in Reuters, Canada is not happy about the prospect of wholesale drug importation programs now in planning stages in the states of Colorado, Florida, Maine and Vermont. It’s concerned about drug shortages and the prospect of higher drug prices in Canada if these programs move forward. Cue the pharmaceutical industry and its AstroTurf front groups’ “I told you so” moment.

It’s true that while small-scale importation from Canada is feasible, larger scale importation is not.

The future lies in pharmaceutical international trade beyond just Canada to include countries such as Japan and those in the European Union. Expanding importation programs to include the EU and Japan was recommended by Jane Horvath in a wonderfully written op-ed in Stat News earlier this week. Ms. Horvath is the leading healthcare policy expert working with the National Academy for State Health Policy and the states on drug importation programs.

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