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Local pharmacy taking stock despite national fears

Last Updated Aug 1, 2019 at 5:49 pm MDT

PHOTO. Supplied by Dave Hill Pharmacy/Facebook.

The non-profit organization, Best Medicine called on the federal government to protect Canada’s drug supply.

Their call followed the report the United States would consider legalizing the import of prescription drugs from Canada.

The main factor behind the move would be price.

However, pharmacy manager of Dave Hill Pharmacy, Kris Lu said the situation is not that simple.

He said Canada is in the midst of a supply shortage.

Prescription Drugs

At the time of publication, the United States population is 327 million.

That number dwarfs Canada’s 37 million.

Kris Lu said any marked demand for prescription drugs from the United States would lead to multiple consequences.

He noted all American patients require a prescription or approval from a Canadian doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or a dentist.

“There are very few exemptions to that rule, such as insulins. However, if the demand is strong enough, Canadian clinics will open up that will prescribe for US residents to bypass this restriction.”

Federal or provincial institutions like the Alberta Blue Cross set drug prices in Canada for the most commonly prescribed drugs.

Therefore, Canadians and Americans find these prices attractive.

However, as expenses decreased for Albertans a supply shortage took hold.

Kris said their pharmacy must monitor levels closely during the “drug crisis”.

“On a daily basis, [we have] to tell patients that the medication they have used to control their blood pressure, heart conditions, depression, seizures, and the like are not available to buy right now and maybe available next month [or in 6 months].”

He added it may take months for patients to gain control of their condition thanks to specific medications.

Under a drug shortage, switching medicines could increase health risks.

If the United States decides to legalize importing medication, Kris said the federal government can respond.

“Canadians will have to pay more unless Canada passes a law to stop US citizens from importing medications. These can lead to multiple consequences but ultimately Canadians paying more through medications, doctor visits, or complications of their conditions.”

Kris Lu reaffirmed patients of the Dave Hill Pharmacy can access their medications in a timely manner.

“We are committed to ensuring the well-being of the residents of Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Patients will be happy to know that they can depend on us to have their medications or find them as long as it is available in Canada.”