The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Canadian drugs:
Healthy for us, not for corporate profits

Apr 28, 2003

Six popular drugs – Celebrex, Glucophage, Lipitor, Novasc, Paxil and Tamoxifen – were priced by the AARP. The cost for a regular supply of all six drugs by mail order in the U.S. was $991; the cost in Canada would have been $533.

Small wonder then that millions of people order prescription drugs from Canada when they don't have prescription coverage in their health plan or their insurer won't pay or they have no health coverage at all.

GlaxoSmithKline, a major pharmaceutical company, jumped right in by refusing to supply its products to Canadian mail-order pharmacies that sell to U.S. citizens – who otherwise would have to pay the higher prices.

And what does the U.S. government do? The FDA declares buying drugs in Canada is illegal and may be unsafe, even though there's not a single documented case of Canadian drugs being fakes.

Unsafe? Only for the enormous profits made by GlaxoSmithKline and the other pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. It's not that these corporations don't make profits in Canada and elsewhere. They don't give away their products. The difference is that the Canadian government regulates both drug prices and its entire national health system.

It's hardly a system that puts people's medical care in the center of all its concerns, but by contrast to the U.S. – with its open worship of "private enterprise" and profit – Canada seems like a very reasonable place.