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Why are Drugs Affordable Across the Border?

October 29th, 2004

By Sal Roach

It’s Flu season and there’s not enough vaccine. In Canada, there’s plenty. And it’s cheaper over there than it is in America. Many Americans, thinking they are in the middle of an American dream, may be waking up to a nightmare in which the most developed nation in the world does not have affordable health care or access to medicine.

Oh Canada!


One of the greatest factors in this is the issue of liability. Drug companies and Health Care providers spend billions of dollars a year on liability insurance for their products. Trial lawyers are constantly suing drug companies as well, which causes the prices of their product to be driven up.

In addition, there is no government regulation as to what these companies can charge on the open market. Medicine in America is a privatized business, and the effects are now being felt amongst the country’s depleted middle class.

When everyone was working with a 401K and full coverage a few years back, there wasn’t the rumble there is now coming from a group that was so used to being provided for. The lower class has always felt the sting of privatized medicine, but now that the lower class is expanding, the cries are getting louder.

The election will decide who is listening.

In Canada, while the drug companies are still privatized, it is the government who buys the drugs and distributes them to the people. They maintain leverage over their drug manufacturers by setting all prices. If the drug company refuses to sell to the government at a low price, the government allows it on the public market, but at a higher price than their competitors who hold government contracts.

The companies are forced to keep their prices low.

George Bush and John Kerry differ greatly from this, although neither have come out and flat out said that drug lobbyists must be stopped in Washington.

Kerry is leaning towards a health plan more like that of Canada, where the FDA and the President regulate prices on some drug companies and limit the amount of law suits that can be filed against them.

Bush argues that by doing so, the government will control what kind of medicine you take, and thus giving you less freedom. Bush is for banning the purchase of drugs in Canada, while Kerry thinks that an FDA regulated program where all drugs coming in can be checked should be put in place. Bush believes that this leads to faulty drugs and more law suits.

Round and round they go in Washington.

Along with stem cells, it is the single most talked about health care topic on this year’s campaign trail, so it should be of great interest to you.

Is the current health care program working? The United State has just purchased a large quantity of flu shots from Canada, whose supply never ran low. Why did the United States supply run low?

The makers of flu vaccines, fearing law suits, manufactured less this year and some not at all, as last year’s run of sickness due to the vaccines were pilling up in the billions in losses for drug manufacturers.

In this upcoming election, you need to ask yourself if you need your government to take care of you. Should the individual be responsible for their own health care? It seems as if, in a country full of people who cannot seem to afford their medicine, that question has already been answered.

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