Canada health officials may end mail-order prescription drug sales to US

A proposal is being considered by Canadian health officials that could prevent the sale of mail-order prescription drugs by Internet pharmacies to US customers, reports the Los Angeles Times and other news sources. The move could end an approximately $700-million practise.

The proposal under consideration "could pre-empt a politically explosive battle brewing in the United States over whether to crack down on consumers who buy their drugs through Canadian pharmacies," the Los Angeles Times reports.

In separate news, a plan proposed by California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could allow about 5 million citizens of the state to buy prescription drugs at prices comparable to those in Canada, Bloomberg reports. The plan would allow people with low incomes and without health insurance to receive discounts on their drugs through their local pharmacies.

"As part of Schwarzenegger's plan, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America trade group has promised to create and publicise a new Web site that will help poor Californians learn about discount- and free-drug programmes already offered by some drugmakers, including Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Merck," Bloomberg says. However, the governor's office didn't outline whether incentives would be offered to encourage the participation of drugmakers.

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