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The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that the Bush administration has released a study saying that “consumers would see little savings from a government-sanctioned system of prescription drug imports from Canada,” and that it continues to have concerns about the safety of drugs brought into the US through the process popularly known as reimportation.

President Bush had said during the recent presidential campaign that he would consider supporting drug imports from Canada if he could be persuaded that these drugs would be safe. However, critics of the administration say that its concerns are more about the drug manufacturers that stand to lose a lot of revenue because of reimportation rather than the citizens looking for a cheaper source of medications.

The Chronicle notes that despite opposition from the Bush administration, the practice is likely to continue. Both house of Congress are scheduled to consider bills in the new year that would make such shipments legal and sanctioned, and even the administration report concedes that “ten million illegal shipments of prescription drugs worth $1.4 billion entered the United States in 2003, about half of them from Canada.” While this isn’t an enormous amount in the broader scheme of things - drug imports represent less than 1 percent of U.S. drug spending - the number actually is five times greater than it was in 2001.
KC's View:
You know our feeling. While importing drugs from Canada may solve the short-term problem, it doesn’t address the real issue – why medications are so expensive, often prohibitively so, in the US.