I had a fascinating conversion with Katherine Binns, my old colleague at Harris Interactive yesterday. I’ll relay much more about it anon, but Harris surveys every player in health care in depth often. One thing that is clear from their current research is that the pharma industry’s reputation has taken a beating from their opposition to imports from Canada. So the current state of the Medicare bill which allows imports only if the FDA approves them–passed by PhRMA influenced house that knows full well that the FDA wont approve them–may not last. In fact huge majorities of seniors are still very angry at the drug companies. And when seniors get mad, especially when most of them will have to wait 26 months for the Medicare drug program to kick in, Congress tends to listen.
However, the New York Times reported the other day that the online pharmacy business in Canada is under pressure at home as well as from the US. While Springfield, Mass, and the states of Illinois, Minnesota and others are thinking of formally going with a Canadian import program in defiance of the law, the Canadians have problems. The first is that big Pharma is restricting the access to product to those online pharmacies. The second is that the government in Canada, which so far is still elected by Canadians, is concerned that the whole business of re-exporting drugs to the US may end up both causing shortages of pharmacists serving Canadians and in the longer run may make it hard for Canada to keep buying its drugs at the prices it’s been getting.