Joe Biden spent time on the presidential campaign trail talking about his support for importing Canadian drugs as a means of lowering prescription drug prices for American consumers. However, his support has not yet translated into action. That, despite pressure by politicians like Florida Governor Ron Desantis and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. So what’s the hold up?
Unfortunately, Canadian drug imports are a political issue as much as a medical one. So, while American consumers can buy their prescription medication via an online Canadian pharmacy, they still don’t have access to imports at their local brick-and-mortar drugstores.
An Important Issue to Consumers
One thing we know about politics is that it makes strange bedfellows. Bernie Sanders, one of the most left-leaning politicians in Washington, recently voiced his agreement with an equally conservative Gov. Desantis in petitioning the Biden administration to get going on Canadian import approval. The two politicians could not be any further apart in their core principles. Yet both understand the importance of this issue to consumers.
U.S. prescription drug prices are out of control. Blame pharmaceutical companies and insurance carriers. Blame the FDA and its overly burdensome regulatory regime. Blame whomever you like. Just understand that Canadian drugs tend to cost a lot less.
U.S. consumers can visit the Canada Pharmacy website and find everything from Cialis to Advair and Xarelto. They can also find OTC medications, pet medications, and more. Most importantly, they will find prices significantly lower than they can get here in the States.
For consumers having to choose between buying their prescription medications and paying their other bills, cheaper prices are a godsend. It is no wonder that websites like Canada Pharmacy are doing so well. Meanwhile, the FDA continues to drag its heels on import approval.
Who Gets the Credit
Unfortunately, politicizing issues like Canadian drug imports often boils down to who gets the credit. No matter which party is in control, neither wants members of the other party to benefit politically. So even while the Biden administration is happy to discuss imports with Gov. Desantis, officials have to be very careful about making their Republican rival look good.
That is what makes it so strange that Bernie Sanders welcomes Desantis’s efforts. To his credit, Sanders may be one of those rare politicians who genuinely believes the ideals he promotes. At least that may be the case here. He has been calling for Canadian drug imports for years.
Don’t Forget the Lobbyists
There is one other aspect of the politics that cannot be ignored. It can be encapsulated in a single word: lobbyists. As you might expect, American pharmaceutical companies are very much against Canadian ports. They have been fighting it tooth and nail since it was first brought up decades ago.
One of the ways they fight the proposal is by lobbying politicians. Those politicians turn around and influence the FDA. And of course, there is no reason to believe that lobbyists are not going directly to FDA regulators themselves. That is the natural course of things in Washington.
All the while, a country that claims to support free markets will not let them work in this case. Cheaper Canadian imports are being artificially kept out of the country for purely political reasons. It would almost be funny if it weren’t so frustrating to people who don’t have a ton of money to pay for their prescriptions.
At the very least, consumers can still buy a limited number of prescription medications online from Canadian pharmacies. That will have to do until Washington finally decides to get its collective butt in gear.