Canada to Prevent Distribution of Some Drugs Ahead of U.S. Rule

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Canada has imposed measures to limit the distribution of some drugs, a move that’s largely aimed at the U.S.

The Canadian government is putting the new guidelines in place to protect its drug supply from bulk sales across the border that could worsen the current deficit, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement. Companies will now be required to provide information to assess existing or potential shortages, and within 24 hours in serious cases.

“Our health care system is a symbol of our national identity and we are committed to defending it,” she said. “The actions we are taking today will help protect Canadians’ access to the medication they rely on.”

The measures were put in place to respond to the U.S. Importation of Prescription Drugs rule which allows licensed pharmacists or wholesalers to import in bulk certain prescription drugs intended for the Canadian market. This rule is slated to come into effect on Monday.

Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans for executive orders to lower prescription drug prices under Medicare by linking them to rates paid in other countries and allowing Americans to buy medication imported from Canada.

Canada has said that this won’t be an effective approach to reducing drug prices in the U.S. since the northern market is small, representing only 2% of global pharmaceutical sales, compared to 44% south of the border.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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