Portland’s prescription drug imports may show the way

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

January 6th, 2014

Maine is the first state to allow prescription drug imports from other countries, which has saved people needed funds but has angered the prescription drug companies. Litigation is underway. While some people are worried about the safety of the drugs, others point out that the Portland program (run by CanaRx) has only had two complaints since it started back in 2004.

As Maine shippers don’t ship temperature-sensitive drugs, like insulin, the process appears safe. For years the elderly and those in need of generic drug brands have crossed Maine’s boarder to Canada. Dirigo Health helped people with prescriptions as the Affordable Care Act is doing now that the “donut whole” has been fixed. However, the costs are still high depending on the prescription.

One economist in a Wall Street Journal article said, “Americans have crossed the Canadian border for cheaper meds since the 1950s, if not before — if safety was a primary issue, it likely would have collapsed as a process by now.”

The Portland City’s program has saved the city and it’s workers needed funds. If this program is expanded to other states, it could seriously affect big drug corporations and allow U.S. citizens to get prescription drugs cheaper. This story was highlighted by a PBS documentary.