American Native bands to be source of cheap drugs

The CBC reports today that the Minnesota state government is looking to the Native nations in their state to import and stockpile drugs from Canada so that they can be sold to Minnesotans if/when the FAA shuts down the Minnesota governments Online Pharmacy


For now, this whole cheap drug issue continues to be not much more than an amusing side show. But I wonder when this will turn into a serious political issue in the States.

How long will it take before the pressure from Americas’ current seniors, and aging baby boomers finally outweighs the Big Pharma lobby in Washington?

Is that even possible?

Part of me is annoyed that I, a Canadian taxpayer, am paying to subsidize drugs that are being bought by Americans who are willing victims of their own system. I feel like asking one of those buyers whether they supported tax cuts in their younger years and program cuts to Medicare and other health services… or if they believed that Free Enterprise and Capitalism had to be considered first before the socioeconomic well being of the less advantaged in the US.

But at the same time… I could never advocate cutting off sales to these people, both on moral and economic grounds.

Isn’t it ironic though, that, if Americans want to buy American drugs they have to pay a huge premium to American drug companies… yet if they go to a Native Casino, they can gamble away their money, but get their drugs for cheap.

As they say… real life is often stranger than fiction.


It looks like there is a push to ban the International sale of most Canadian prescription drugs *at Canadian prices*.

We’ll probably be hearing more on this in the coming days/weeks/months.

3 replies on “American Native bands to be source of cheap drugs”

  1. Comment submitted by David:
    I didn’t know that Canada has been subsidizing the domestic prices of drugs;
    here in the USA we have been told that the lower prices result from the drug
    companies charging less in the Canadian market.

    The drug companies say that they need to charge higher prices in the United
    States to cover the expenses of research. If so, then logically they ought to
    spread the cost more equitably over the world market.

    If the price difference is a reflection of volume discounting, though, then
    Americans need to organize to get a similar discount instead of trying to
    benefit from Canada’s. If the price difference is the result of Canadian
    subsidies, then I agree that Americans shouldn’t benefit from what is a transfer
    payment by Canadian taxpayers to Canadians who need the drugs. We should subsidize
    our own drug prices.”

  2. David:

    From what I understand, the price difference is a combination of the Canadian government subsidies through the public health system and volume discounts obtained by the Canadian government by purchasing the drugs in bulk for Canadians.

  3. Thanks for this information, Chris. There is currently a debate in the USA over pension reform; I hope this is followed by debate over health care spending, as it will make no sense if the rising cost of the latter offsets any savings gained by reforming social security.

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