New U.S. drug plan could pose problems for Canadians using insulin: Diabetes Canada

By Devon McKendrick

WASHINGTON – The United States could soon see shipments of bulk prescription drugs coming from Canada after an announcement from President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration says it will set up a system allowing Americans to legally access lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada.

While the news is welcome to many in the U.S. some believe it will cause problems for Canadians.

READ MORE: Canada eyeing implications of U.S. plan to allow imports of prescription drugs

Kimberley Hanson is with Diabetes Canada and says insulin could be a medication in high demand south of the border.

“Even a 24-hour inability to access insulin could result in a medical emergency. This would mean, likely, greater demand on our emergency systems and certainly a lot of concerns.”

Hanson added that roughly 300,000 people across the country need Insulin in their lifetime.

Diabetes Canada is now taking their concerns to the federal government.

“We have written to the Minister of Health urging Health Canada to take decisive proactive action right away to prevent the bulk, re-exportation of medications from Canada such as insulin so as to avoid any kind of shortage.”

READ MORE: PM pledges access to medication as pharmacists, patient groups fear shortage

Hanson notes that there has only been one problem reported where a man in B.C. couldn’t get his insulin due to a group from the U.S. coming up and buying all the medication but he was able to get more the next day.

She said while Diabetes Canada has empathy for people in the U.S. facing high costs of insulin but wants to make sure the country’s regulatory environment safeguards Canadians needs first and foremost.

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