Selling drugs imported from Canada would become a crime in Kansas under a bill being debated in the state Legislature.
In November, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who opposes the bill, brought Kansas into a program, started by Illinois, linking consumers through a Canadian clearinghouse to pharmacies and drug wholesalers in Canada, Ireland and the U.K.
Christopher Ward, a healthcare consultant from Hamilton, Ont., told lawmakers that the Canadian mail-order drug industry operates outside of the regulatory system in Canada.
Ward, brought in by the drug industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said Canada's healthcare agency has advised the public for years to be wary of drug imports that evade the review process for individual products.
Karen Braman, a licensed pharmacist and deputy director of Sebelius' office on health planning and finance, said the chain of custody of pharmaceuticals is more tightly controlled in Canada than in the U.S.
Braman said importation is not the long-term solution to escalating prescription drug prices. "However, we do believe it offers many individual citizens access to prescription drugs they would otherwise not have," she said.