Canada Blocks Exports of Some Bulk Prescription Drugs to U.S. to Prevent Shortages
December 1, 2020
Canada has blocked bulk exports of prescription drugs to prevent shortages at home, in response to outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to allow imports from Canada to lower some drug prices for Americans.
“Certain drugs intended for the Canadian market are prohibited from being distributed for consumption outside of Canada if that sale would cause or worsen a drug shortage,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement.
The Canadian measure went into effect on November 27th, just days before a U.S. “Importation Prescription Drugs” rule that would eventually allow licensed U.S. pharmacists or wholesalers to import in bulk certain prescription drugs intended for the Canadian market.
Trump touted the plan in his first debate with president-elect Joe Biden, who has also said during his campaign that he would set up a similar import plan to try to reduce prescription drug costs for Americans.
“Canada is a small market, representing 2 per cent of global drug sales, that sources 68 per cent of its drugs internationally. The need for vigilance in maintaining the national drug supply continues,” Hajdu’s statement said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in September he was willing to help other nations with pharmaceutical supplies if possible, adding that his priority was protecting the needs of Canadians.