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US to Lift Ban on Canadian Drug Imports

ceuticals to take advantage of price differences, the Food and Drug Administration has surprisingly turned a blind eye to personal purchases of nonnarcotic prescription drugs from places such as Canada and Mexico in shipments of as much as three months' worth.

However from Nov. 17 the situation changed with customs undertaking a quiet crackdown on foreign mail-order drugs. According to some estimates over 40,000 packages were interdicted. Canadian mail-order pharmacies said seizures jumped to a peak this year of 20% of their U.S. shipments, up from 3% to 5%. Seizures were reported to have declined after the crackdown was disclosed in media reports.

Seniors complained about their failure to receive needed medications while certain members of Congress criticized the agency for failing to adequately warn people of the crackdown.

A Homeland Security spokeswoman would not discuss the change in policy, but she issued a statement saying, "While we are reversing this policy, [Customs and Border Protection] remains committed, in cooperation with the FDA, to protecting the American public from unsafe and ineffective medications. We will be focusing our resources to best protect the American public."

A spokeswoman for the FDA said the agency had no comment because it had not been officially informed of the change.


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