New research released today by the Pharmacy Alliance for Canadians found that Internet pharmacy companies are diverting more than 40% of Manitoba's drug supply to the United States.
The Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy analyzed the research results and found that 40.8% of Manitoba's entire drug supply was diverted to the U.S. in 2003, up from 24.9% in 2002.
In addition, the Pharmacy Alliance for Canadians reported that Manitoba's Internet drug traders sold 45.4% of the province's total purchases of the top 10 chronic care therapeutic classes to the U.S.
These findings validate survey results released by the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy in November 2003 in which more than 80% of Manitoba community pharmacists reported having a harder time finding sufficient supplies of prescription medicines for their patients. That survey also found that 66% of Manitoba community pharmacies were struggling to hire or maintain enough pharmacists to care for their patients.
"We're going to show this data to the Manitoba and federal governments and demand that they take action to stop the bleeding," said Lothar Dueck, president of the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy and a community pharmacist in Vita, Manitoba.
"The Manitoba government has taken the position that the cross-border drug sales are an economic issue. We're telling them that forcing Manitobans to compete for our own medicines with cash-paying Americans makes this a health care issue. The government has ignored the concerns of the province's pharmacists and doctors. And now it has reached crisis proportions."