I write concerning the article about importing drugs from Canada (April 24) – specifically, the litany of red herrings feebly thrown up as objections.

Past Maine Pharmacy Association President Kenneth McCall, clearly with no dog in the fight, says, “We are all looking for strategies to lower prescription drug prices.” Let me save him some heavy lifting and suggest the novel idea of buying those same drugs at much lower prices from Canada or elsewhere.

He dismissively implies that we should not accept help from a country one-tenth our size. One of the world’s largest diabetes and hemophilia treatment providers comes from Denmark, about 2 percent of our size, while Israel, home to one of the world’s leaders of generic drugs, is only 3 percent of our size. Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical was, of course, recently taken to task for near-predatory EpiPen pricing and has actually rolled them back. I’ll happily take help lowering drug prices from an ally of any size.

McCall apocryphally notes we could not ensure the safety of Canadian drugs, as if our neighbors are awash in counterfeit pharmaceuticals just waiting to harm Americans. (Somehow, they manage to live three years longer on average than we do.) He further says there would be no recourse if Americans were harmed by such drugs. Hogwash.

Are we to believe we’d have no recourse if a Lilly- or Pfizer, etc.-manufactured drug, no matter where obtained, injured an American citizen? He should stop sowing fear and start looking for immediate solutions if he and his former organization hope to remain relevant.

Piggybacking off the Canadian system is not a long-term solution, but it could be a start to show pharmaceutical purveyors we are serious.

Lastly, Medicare prescription reimbursements to states were about $82 billion last year. Our government is not allowed to negotiate Medicare drug pricing with providers. That has to change.

Mike Del Tergo


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