Merck cuts drug sales to Canadian pharmacies exporting to US

Merck has begun cutting off sales of its drugs to Canadian pharmacies that export the drugmaker's products for use by patients in the US, as reported in Bloomberg and other news sources. The drugmaker becomes the fourth one to take such action, following Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Wyeth.

"The practice is of concern to our company as it raises a number of regulatory and legal issues relating to the sale of Canadian approved medicines to foreign jurisdictions and it jeopardises supply to Canadian patients," Merck said in a January 14 letter to the internet pharmacy, as reported in Bloomberg.

Merck also said in its letter that it will not supply these pharmacies unless they can prove to the drugmaker's Canadian subsidiary, Merck Frosst, that they are no longer shipping drugs to US consumers, report the news sources. Merck Frosst, "has taken a careful stepwise approach to addressing the problem of exporting drugs from Canada," said Merck spokesman Tony Plohoros, as reported in Bloomberg.

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