Medicine Cabinet Minister

Canada ponders blocking drug shipments to the US.

That’s legal drugs, of course. Traffic of marijuana, for example, runs more toward “Maui Wowie” going north than it does to “Moosejaw Mindfart” traveling south.

Another distinguishing factor would be that the illegal products are sold in a free market, the legal ones are not.

But, back to the main stream of consciousness: This story wonderfully illustrates the Statist idiocy on both sides of the border.

“Canada cannot be the drugstore for the United States,” Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh told reporters at a news conference.

One reply to Health Minister Dosanjh might be; “Fine, the United States can no longer be the pharmaceutical research lab for Canada. Non-generic drug shipments from the United States to Canada must cease. We cannot continue to subsidize the Canadian health care system either by providing free pharmaceutical research or by continuing to provide for Canada’s national defense. Hereafter, all export pharmaceuticals will attract duties equal to the price difference. The revenue will be earmarked to fund the United States military.”

The justification is easy. Canadians already tack huge taxes on US wine, and the revenue probably does equal their entire military expenditure. What I don’t understand is why Canada doesn’t have duties on the drugs they export to the US after they’ve imported them from us.

But who ever expected that a country with 10% of the population could supply the US with drugs in the first place? Well, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), for one.

She can’t figure out that supplying 10% of the US market represents a 100% increase in Canadian pharmaceutical sales. Moon-Base 1 to Debbie: Canada is more like a medicine cabinet than a drugstore.

And what’s the value add bit in shipping drugs made in the US to Canada and then shipping them back? The answer is – price controls.

There is a significant lobby in the US to import our own intellectual property back from Canada at a discount. Since this plan is clearly unsustainable, we must ask “Why?”

The reason is that it allows US socialists to hide behind Canadian skirts. It isn’t drugs they want to import, it’s price controls without stigma.

If Canada didn’t exist, Debbie Stabenow would have had to invent it. She’s the poster child for US Statists seizing the opportunity to vilify the pharmaceutical industry while simultaneously lobbying for the stealth importation of state-run health care.

Canadian price manipulation of patent pharmaceuticals has the same effect as the rest of their state-controlled health care system – rationing and delay. New drugs reach the Canadian market much more slowly and the cost of generic drugs in Canada is double that of the US.

New drugs are available in Canada’s tiny market only because of the US market. The marginal cost to the inventors of selling a few drugs in Canada is very small. Without the US market Canada couldn’t regulate drug prices.

Health Minister Dosanjh had further comment on the drug trade:

“In light of potential American legislation legalizing the bulk import of Canadian [sic] prescription and other medications, our priority must be the health and safety of all Canadians and the strength of our health care system.”

Strength of the health care system? Where the Quebec Supreme Court says delays in treatment are so serious as to violate basic freedoms? Right.

He said Canada would toughen its rules to require “an established doctor/patient relationship for any cross-border drug sales.” Currently, patients who receive a prescription from a U.S. doctor can have it filled over the Internet, with the prescription endorsed by a Canadian doctor and the drugs mailed from Canada directly to the patient.

If Americans need to wait 3 months to see a Canadian doctor will they still think drug re-importation a good idea? (Aside to Paul Martin – this doesn’t require new legislation; it could have been solved by an Order in Council. Why wasn’t it?)

The most stupid comment of all comes from a Republican Congressunit. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) said, “I think this is a case of the pharmaceutical companies manipulating markets.” Jo Ann is a co-sponsor of one of the bills before the U.S. Congress to remove the federal prohibition on cross-border drug sales.

Who is manipulating the market:
A) Those who set price controls?
B) Those who want to import socialism?
C) Those who invent the products?

Give me a break, Jo Ann.

Finally, for completeness, let us not forget Senator Stabenow’s hypocritical hyperventilation regarding trash being brought into Michigan from Ontario. My advice to Ontario? Tell her; “Deb, if you want the drugs you either gotta take the trash, or send $500K in old bills to the Libranos*.

*TM Kate McMillan.