Jul 19, 2019

Importing prescription drugs from Canada is tougher than it sounds

Photo: Brad Wilson/Getty Images

American politicians love to say they'll let Americans import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. But there's a problem: Canada.

What they're saying: Canadian officials' internal briefings say that the country "does not support actions that could adversely affect the supply of prescription drugs in Canada and potentially raise costs of prescription drugs for Canadians," according to documents obtained by Reuters.

Importation into the U.S. would fit that bill. If we really did begin importing large quantities of drugs from Canada, its domestic supplies could shrink.

  • Pharmaceutical companies would have every incentive to either limit Canada's supplies, to ensure that not many pills make it back across the border, or to try to raise their prices in Canada.

There are other problems, too, despite importation's political popularity here.

  • The FDA has consistently resisted large-scale importation efforts, saying it can't adequately guarantee those products are safe.
  • Drugmakers' purchasing contracts in Canada also often prohibit the practice, per Reuters. (Canada's federal health care does not cover prescription drugs — they're covered through a mix of provincial programs and private insurance.)

My thought bubble: If the U.S. wants to set some standards about how much it will pay for drugs, we always have the option of setting our own rules rather than importing Canada's.

Go deeper: The U.S. won't import prescription drugs from Canada any time soon

Go deeper

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.