Canada’s Health Market Strategies Against Price Run-up and Drugs Deficit

Why Americans want access to Canadian online pharmacies

It seems that PharmacyChecker — one of the most reputable online services that allow checking prices in licensed web drugstore — is going to continue the holy war against big pharmaceutical manufacturers and governmental organizations. The second half of August 2019 was pretty busy for the administration of the service.

Taking into account, the recent lawsuit filed by the legal advisors of PharmacyChecker the company accuses Big Pharma companies of keeping low priced generics and medication out of sale (out of reach) for U.S. citizens. The lawsuit was filed at the beginning of August 2019, in the Southern District Court of New York State.

The lawsuit compiled by the PharmacyChecker legal advisors claims that certain organizations as the U.S. National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) are involved in the illegal regulation of prices for a number of important medications. This shadow regulation happens through private contracts and oral agreements with the biggest Internet “gatekeepers” like Google. The intention of this outrageous activity, according to PharmacyChecker, is to hide any online information about the import of cheaper medications from web drugstore in countries like Canada where this niche is thriving.

The PharmacyChecker legal advisors claim that such illegal regulation hides the real prices for some important brand and generic medications that usually cost about 90% less from licensed offline and online Canadian drugstores than from the pharmacy networks in the United States.

Why is PharmacyChecker lawsuit so important?

Nowadays more and more U.S. citizens seek ways to visit Canada for affordable meds. The admins of the website of PharmacyChecker (dedicated to the verification of prescription-only meds offered by web pharmacies) currently is suing 5 pharmaceutical organizations.

The only independent monitoring service that legally verifies the credentials of global web pharmacies have all rights and, hopefully, proofs to think that there is a shadow campaign aimed at the price manipulation and suppression of facts that may help Americans buy drugs at a lower cost in local pharmacies and Canadian licensed drugstores.

Allegedly, NABP along with LegitScript and Big Pharma trio are working together to promote a shadow campaign for suppressing the competition at the pharmaceutical market. In such a way, they may manipulate the inflation of RX drug prices. They also may spread false information to scare off the potential customers from buying in international pharmacies operating online from Canada or Mexico.

The PharmacyChecker legal advisors also claim that these organizations initially targeted the website of their company to prevent customers from getting any reliable information about the verification of cheaper meds in legal online drugstores. PharmacyChecker can prove that it only operates with safe and legal pharmacies that have direct access to offer their customers cheaper and comparatively lower drug prices compared to the legal drugstores in the United States.

Due to these allegations, the legal advisors of PharmacyChecker request the immediate removal of their website domain from the list of “Not Recommended Websites”. While the website is blacklisted by the official organizations, the potential users and clients can avoid using the service, which means that the reputation of PharmacyChecker can be destroyed.

The drug shortage may become the future of the pharmaceutical market of Canada

According to the recent research provided by Oehha.org, Canadian citizens are struggling to find life-saving medications like insulin or anti-asthma inhalers. Such a shortage of prescription medications is easy to explain — hundreds of fellow Americans come to Canada to buy these medications at a reduced cost.

For example, one bottle of artificial insulin in Canada is worth $30 while the same amount in the United States costs no less than $300. Such math is outrageous but people can’t wait until politicians find the way to improve the pharmaceutical’s niche. Patients with chronic disorders need medications right here and right now. And Canadian pharmacies can satisfy their needs in prescription pills. At least for now.

According to social media reports, over the past 6 years, the drug shortage in the country has been risen up significantly. Patients with severe chronic disorders are desperate and stressed out all the time. The Canadian Pharmacists Association surveyed more than 1,770 pharmacy workers. About 78% claim that the drug shortage had increased significantly over the last few years. It means that the Canadian government has to deal with the upcoming drug shortage ASAP.

The request to resolve the problems associated with this has turned out to be a laborious and undesirable part of the current day-to-day practice of local healthcare providers. While drug shortage is an unfavorable everyday truth and harshness both for patients and pharmacists. Meanwhile, Canadian drugstores claim that its magnitude over the past year has led to confusion among seriously ill patients.

What really scared the people of Canada and the United States that the drug shortage will provide the new price hike for life-saving drugs in both countries, which was the problem at the first time as well.

Why are Canadian outraged by the decision of the U.S. President? 

The Canadian community has criticized the decision of the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to allow the purchase of FDA-approved drugs in Canada, where they are much cheaper, according to Bloomberg.

“This is insane. Donald Trump must figure out why American citizens have to pay more for medications than people living in Canada,” — said J. Duffin, a professor from Queens University.

The US Administration proposed the development of certain initiatives that let the state authorities, wholesalers, and offline pharmacies to purchase drugs directly from Canadian offline and online services.

According to all laws for licensing the pharmaceutical products, most manufacturers sell their products in Canada at the very fixed prices, and the country’s authorities agree to forbid the export of the meds to all other countries.

“Hospital along with retail pharmacies are required to meet the needs of our citizens,” — claims the general statement of 15 Canadian medical associations. “Canada does not have the ability to supply a neighboring country which population is 10 times higher, due to the severe shortage of meds”.

The pharmaceutical association of Innovative Medicines in Canada (IMC) also has a legal position on the upcoming U.S. law. For instance, the spokeswoman Sarah Dion-Marquis mentioned that the Canadian government must confirm that it will provide appropriate measures to save its consumers facing the potential shortage of prescription medications.

Is it dangerous and illegal for Americans to buy budget-friendly meds in Mexico and Canada? 

Due to the sky-rocketed cost of RX pills and medical products in the United States, most Americans can’t purchase buying even the most vital medications to stay healthy or even alive. The disastrous actions and laws by the Donald Trump’s administration are not helping, though the current U.S. president promises to legalize the import of selected medications (mostly prescription drugs) from the neighboring countries — Canada & Mexico — since the prices for these meds are much lower over there.

However, this plan may only save some drugstores because future laws cover just wholesale import needs. As for regular American citizens, they still have to find other ways to cover their monthly refills of life-saving medications. Mostly these ways lead them to the shadow purchases of necessary drugs outside the United States.

By skirting federal legislations, hundreds of Americans routinely visit Mexico and Canada or use the online drugstores with the international shipping to purchase prescription pills because the cheaper meds are better than expensive drugs in the United States. Not just the budget-friendly offers but also desperation lead Americans to do illegal actions. Most families can’t afford to buy certain life-saving drugs with monthly refills.

The thing is that when it comes to the case of life or death, everyone will seek any methods to find drugs for family and friends. For example, when the deal is about diabetes.

For instance, R. Cressman, 32, wanted to save on her diabetes medication plan that costs her about $8,000 annually. She managed to find reliable information that the price for insulin to the south of the U.S. border is about 15% less than in her native country. Her credit card debt reached the limit of over $32,000 and she was desperate enough to go to Mexico, in order to save at least a few thousands on her annual supply of insulin.

According to the non-profit organization Health Care Cost Institute (a.k.a. HCCI), in 2017 the annual cost of insulin for a single patient of diabetes type I claimed that $ 5,700, which is almost twice as high as in 2012 — $2,860. The rising price of insulin makes some U.S. patients risk their health due to the lack of financial support.

In recent months, hundreds of cases have been noted in the US where diabetics have had to cut back on insulin because of its high cost. In connection with the discontent of people in the country, protests were also held at the headquarters of a number of pharmaceutical companies.

According to HCCI, the increase in insulin costs was primarily due to higher prices for it, as well as the transition of people with type 1 diabetes to more expensive insulin preparations. At the same time, the average daily insulin consumption increased from 2012 to 2017 by only 3%.

To solve this problem, representatives of the U.S. Democratic Party proposed to provide a law aimed at reducing the price of RX-only medical products. That is why they are going to send to 12 manufacturers (including Big Pharma) official emails asking for information about the recent price hikes.

Keep in mind that Canada’s healthcare system does not cover the cost of essential prescription drugs, so patients only have to rely on various insurance benefits. In recent years, the Canadian government has repeatedly expressed concern that the share of drug cost is steadily increasing, including the price for brand drugs in Canada — that is, on average, 20% higher than in other developed countries. And, still, 20% of Canadians cannot afford to buy health insurance.

As you can see, there are many problems that can be solved with the use of online pharmacies but it is obvious that huge pharmaceutical companies won’t let these web services to operate and let people buy cheaper medications.