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Canada won’t sell its cheap drugs to US

Canada's main pharmaceutical lobby group has urged the government not to wait for drug shortages before responding to US plans to import Canadian drugs.

The talking points were prepared last month by Innovative Medicines Canada for its staff and member companies, before the Trump administration announced last week that it would allow US states and other groups to start pilot programs importing cheap drugs from Canada to lower drug costs.

The IMC proposed the Canadian government ban all drug exports "unless otherwise permitted by regulation."

"Wholesalers should not be permitted to export drugs in bulk from Canada, and there should be strict and significant penalties for exporting drugs where their export is prohibited by law," a document stated. It warned that "reliance on reactive measures after shortages occur may pose a risk to Canadian patients."

That document, prepared in May, came before a July 31 statement from the Trump administration that it will set up a system to allow Americans to legally import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, overturning long-standing US policy. The cost of prescription drugs has been a controversial issue this year in the US, including the price of insulin, which some Americans buy in Canada, travelling in caravans to get the drug to control diabetes. The IMG suggested it is eager to derail the Trump administration's plan.

IMC's members include major drug companies based in the United States and abroad, and large-scale shipments of cheap drugs from Canada could lower their profits.

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