The Canadian government has said that they’re going to limit the amount of drugs that Americans will have access to, but they’re being rather vague about the specifics.
I’ve been wondering when they’d get around to this. The Canadian health minister, Ujjal Dosanjh, tried to spin the news a certain way when he said that a nation of 33 million couldn’t handle the needs of 280 million Americans. This strikes a false note to me, since just about all of the drugs available in Canada are manufactured here in the United States before being shipped north. If the US, with its population of 280 million, is the source of the drugs for a nation of 33 million……
Well, you get the idea.
This article on the Forbes server is a bit more honest. An excerpt…
“Drugmakers contend that price controls in countries such as Canada depress the cost of prescription drugs to consumers to artificially low levels. Such price controls, which don’t exist in the United States, would discourage the research and development needed to bring new and better drugs to market, according to the manufacturers.
“Reacting to the upsurge in cross-border activity, drug companies such as Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline have cut supplies to Canadian pharmacies and wholesalers that serve American customers.”
So it’s not that non-existent manufacturing plants in Canada can’t keep up with the demand. American pharmas are instead moving to protect their profits and market share.
I can’t say that I’m any too sympathetic about all of this. Canada has been trying to reap the benefits of aggressive, Capitalism-fueled R&D while avoiding the very real costs. If their system was really fair, which is what many proponents of the Canadian health care system claim, then the government would pay out a huge chunk of change for every new drug that they want to offer, say $240 million USD. That way they’d shoulder their fair share of the estimated $1 billion USD in development costs. Now that would be fair!
For some reason I’m not holding my breath, though.