Archive for Sunday, August 22, 2004

Imports worry Lawrence pharmacist

August 22, 2004


Canadian prescription drugs might seem like the cure for what ails the pocketbook, but Tom Wilcox isn't so sure.

Wilcox, owner of Round Corner Drug, 801 Mass., said he was frustrated that the federal government wasn't doing more to block illegal importation of prescription drugs.

"I've had patients import controlled substances from Pakistan," Wilcox said. "There's very little done to regulate importation from a foreign country."

Wilcox trained for six years to become a pharmacist. By contrast, he said, a relative in Iowa with a high school education has set up a lucrative business importing Canadian drugs.

"The FDA has no control in these countries. We lose control of how the drugs are handled," Wilcox said.

"They're probably safe, but the portal is open, and the more we use drugs from other countries, the more we lose control over the process," he said. "I think there's potential down the road for problems to exist."

Bob Day, the director of the governor's Office of Health Planning and Finance, said officials needed to consider the effect on local pharmacies if they allowed and encouraged importing drugs from Canada.

"The flip side is that Kansas pharmacies lose that business," Day said. "They're not the (price) problem -- the manufacturer is the issue."

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