Reimportation may not have made it into the U.S. healthcare reform bill, but that doesn't mean people aren't importing drugs on their own. Plenty of Americans order meds from Canada, even though it's illegal to do so. And thanks to the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, we now know what drugs they're buying.
The medication most commonly ordered online by U.S. residents is Plavix, the clotbusting drug sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis. Second on the list is GlaxoSmithKline's asthma drug Advair, with the Boehringer Ingelheim/Astellas Pharma prostate drug Flomax next in line. Also in the mix are AstraZeneca's antacid Nexium and cholesterol drug Crestor, Merck's cholesterol fighter Zetia, and Pfizer's mega-blockbuster statin med Lipitor.
As the Los Angeles Times points out, these meds are for chronic conditions, meaning patients are buying them month after month after month--an ongoing expense that Canadian customers are trying to minimize. But it's also worth noting that some of these drugs have either just dropped off patent--think Flomax--or are on their way to generic-land, as with Plavix and Lipitor. So fairly soon, patients may not have to order the drugs from Canada to get cut-rate prices.
- read the LA Times piece