August 6, 2019 / 7:28 PM / 4 months ago

Canadian minister to meet with drug industry, others on U.S. import plan

TORONTO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Canada’s health minister will meet with pharmacists, patients, industry and experts on Monday to discuss the impact of recent moves by the U.S. government to import drugs from Canada, the federal minister said on Tuesday, responding to concerns about possible drug shortages and higher costs.

The Trump administration last week announced that it would propose a rule to allow U.S. states and other groups to start pilot programs importing pharmaceuticals from Canada as part of an effort to lower costs.

“Our government is focused on ensuring Canadians have consistent access to medications they rely on,” Canadian health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in a tweet.

She said the meeting would look at “next steps to safeguard Canada’s prescription drug supply.”

Pharmacists, patient groups and others have argued that large-scale shipments from Canada to the United States could cause medication shortages or raise costs in Canada.

Canada’s main pharmaceutical lobby group has urged the government not to wait for drug shortages before responding to the Trump administration’s plans, Reuters reported on Monday.

In 2005, an earlier Canadian government promised a bill that would restrict drug exports in response to similar U.S. proposals, but never passed the law.

A spokesman from the minister’s office said last week that the government was “examining all options” to ensure the country’s drug supply is secure. (Reporting by Allison Martell, editing by G Crosse)

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