Stopping U.S. Seniors from Getting Their Canadian Medications, FDA Seizes More Drug Orders; Pharmacy Says Up to 10 Percent of Orders Being Stopped by U.S.

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Since the Medicare Part D drug program for seniors was launched in January, the U.S. Customs has begun increasing its seizures of Canadian prescription drugs enroute to chronically ill American patients. A Canadian pharmacist worries who will be responsible if patients that don't receive their medications, go off their drug regimens and suffer or even die.

A growing number of American seniors that buy their affordable prescription medications from Canada, have found that the U.S. Customs has recently begun seizing their orders.

“The border seizures have grown from about 1 percent of orders a few months ago to nearly 10 percent now, “said Chris Jorgenson, vice president of Extended Care Pharmacy, a Calgary pharmacy that serves patients in all 50 states. “U.S. Customs doesn’t simply confiscate and release them like before -- they destroy them.”

“I blame the jump in seizures on ‘big pharma’ pressuring the FDA to stop seniors from getting their affordable, lifesaving drugs from Canada,” added Jorgenson.

Mary Dietsche, an 82-year-old breast cancer survivor in Sebring, Florida, was set to get her Tamoxifen drug to prevent the disease from reoccurring, on January 31.    Her order left Extended Care Pharmacy on time, but because the U.S. Customs confiscated and discarded the package, she was forced to wait nervously for 15 days until the pharmacy could ship a second package no charge. Hopefully that package will get to her okay.

Jorgenson says that in previous years U.S. Customs has confiscated the drug packages, looked them over and released them, causing anywhere from a one day to 3 week delay in patients getting their medications in their mailbox. Now, however, U.S. Customs confiscates and discards them, and sends a letter to patients saying that the medications may not meet FDA regulations. This requires the pharmacy to send a complimentary replacement package to the patient as quickly as possible.

Dietsche is upset that the U.S. Customs took her drugs.

“I have checked out the new Medicare Part D prescription plan, and in my case, Canada is still the lowest-cost and best option,” said Dietsche. “So, stop interfering with my right to get affordable medications. If I die because of the FDA’s and U.S. Custom’s actions, it will be on their heads.”

Her pharmacist, Mr. Diaa Arsany, is extremely concerned.

“It’s an issue of patient safety,” said Arsany. “Who will be liable for patients going off their regimen and suffering or even dying? Obviously, the government could care less about patient’s health and well-being.”

In Dietsche’s case, she would pay US$197.89 for 180 tablets of Tamoxifen (20mgs) from her pharmacy in Sebring, a Central Florida city located 100 miles southeast of Tampa. At Extended Care Pharmacy in Calgary, she can buy 200 tablets for US$68.05, about a 60 percent savings.

“Since the U.S. government added the Medicare Part D drug plan in January, it appears that the FDA has given a “green light” to stopping needy seniors from getting their Canadian medications, said Jorgenson.”

Extended Care Pharmacy (http://www.extendedcarepharmacy.com ) is a licensed Canadian pharmacy located in Calgary Alberta. Consumers can call Extended Care Pharmacy toll-free at 1-866-266-9955. The pharmacy is located at 109 - 2915 21st St. NE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2E 7T1.

Extended Care (ECP) is staffed by 3 Canadian pharmacists and 15 assistants and staff. Most of the pharmacy’s patients order lifesaving medications for serious chronic health conditions including cancer, diabetes, arthritis and AIDS. For over three years, the pharmacy has provided thousands of Americans with lifesaving medications and as a result improved their health.

An estimated 5 million American consumers have purchased Canadian medications over the past five years, and found them to be safe and effective. At least two U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) reports have concurred with consumers’ findings.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To interview Mary Dietsche or an Extended Care Pharmacy representative, please call Chris Jorgenson at 403-291-5280

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Michael Pirages

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