The Trump administration plan to allow imports of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada has a serious supply-side problem.
Canada’s drug supply could run out within six months if 20 percent of U.S. prescriptions came from north of the border, according to a 2018 study by Marv Shepherd, a professor emeritus at the University of Texas-Austin’s pharmacy college.
In the event of the U.S. legalizing drug imports from Canada, “The threat to the Canadian drug supply is real. Drug shortages will undoubtedly occur,” Shepherd wrote.
Shortages of medications are already common in Canada. A 2018 survey of Canadian pharmacists found that 67 percent reported dealing with shortages daily or multiple times a day.
Not surprisingly, the drug import plan hasn’t gone over well with Canadians. With federal elections coming in October, it seems unlikely that the government will get on board with this proposal as well.
Did you know?
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Canada’s own drug shortages often involve generics, while the cost disparity between U.S. and Canadian drugs is most pronounced with brand-name medications. A key reason – the Canadian government has a small agency dedicated to reviewing prices for medications without generic equivalents.
While there’s little enthusiasm for President Trump’s drug import plan among Canadians, perhaps there’s room to leverage U.S. demand for cheaper medications with Canada’s need for more stable supplies.
Hammer down everyone!