Bush Administration pressures Canada to eliminate drug importation

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The following news release is being issued by CIPA - Canadian mail-order drug importation may become illegal soon due to new regulations proposed by the Liberal Government. After quietly supporting the practice for four years, the Liberals made a conspicuous about face after President Bush's November visit to Canada. Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh confirmed that the president conferred with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on the matter.

Shortly thereafter, Dosanjh drafted the new regulations that, if implemented, will make it illegal for Canadian mail-order pharmacies to fill prescriptions for non-citizens, and leave millions of Americans without access to affordable medications. This Canada Food & Drug Act revision could be fast- tracked into law this month by the Liberal Cabinet without consultation with the House of Commons, which doesn't reconvene until Jan. 31, 2005.

"The timing and tactics seem more than coincidental. CIPA's been openly communicating with Health Canada for two years, now they won't even take our calls," explains David MacKay, executive director of CIPA. "Our sources indicate President Bush pressured the Canadian government into a deal by enticing them with trade concessions because he wants this industry erased. President Bush bartered for our elimination."

Despite contrary pre-election comments, President Bush clearly opposes Congress' attempts to legalize importation. By having Canadians eliminate the trade, the president avoids a potentially embarrassing veto.

Dosanjh now contradicts his earlier assertions that Canada's drug supply is protected adequately by insisting he must pre-empt a Canadian drug supply crisis. Despite indications that the U.S. won't legalize importation, he's contrived an alleged threat to Canada's pricing regime by suggesting "it may come crashing down."

Andy Troszok, pharmacist and president of CIPA, says Dosanjh is deceiving Canadians by fabricating claims that the drug supply and pricing regime are threatened as justification for eliminating drug importation.

"Why would our government willingly kill a billion dollar sector they once supported and the 4000 jobs associated with it? Because it folded under political pressure from Bush's Administration," adds Troszok. "This is Big Pharma's agenda and now it has George Bush directly negotiating on its behalf."

CIPA is a non-profit trade association representing 35 of Canada's leading mail-order pharmacies. CIPA's members service about two million U.S. patients, primarily seniors and the uninsured, and have annual sales estimated at $1 billion.

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