Next step is to inspect Canadian pharmacies

Nevada Board of Pharmacy officials will inspect seven Canadian pharmacies later this month, the next step in opening up the more affordable Canadian prescription drug market to Nevadans.

At the pharmacy board's Wednesday meeting, it approved seven out of the 10 applications submitted by Canadian pharmacies seeking the validity of state approval and publicity on a state-operated Web site. The final list of Canadian pharmacies that pass the health inspection could be listed on the Governor's Office for Consumer Health Assistance Web site within the next three weeks.

Louis Ling, general counsel for the pharmacy board, said Thursday two of the pharmacies, Total Care Pharmacy LTD of Calgary, Alberta and Canada US Pharmacy of Winnipeg, were denied because they did not complete the application, specifically the sections dealing with jurisdiction and drug origination.

Elmwood Pharmacy of Edmonton, Alberta was denied because it had submitted an expired license.

"They didn't have any evidence of a present licensure in good standing in their home province," Ling said. "The other seven were granted, so we're in the process of planning the trip to go inspect the pharmacies, which will occur Sept. 19 to the 23rd."

He has said this process is the legal way of ordering prescription drugs from Canada. He said it will make the process easier and the Web site will help consumers pick a safe pharmacy.

Eight states, several cities and the District of Columbia operate similar programs in opposition to the Bush administration's stance that prescription drug imports can be unsafe. Nevada's law making it easier for consumers to buy prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies went into effect July 1.

This is good news to Minden woman Barbara LeBlanc, who has purchased medications from Canada for the last three years. LeBlanc said she'll look at the state's Web site once it's up.

"Right now I get two prescription drugs from Canada that my insurance company refuses to cover, which is why I buy from Canada," she said Thursday. "One of the drugs I take costs about half to two-thirds less than what I can get at Costco, even including shipping. So that makes a difference. This drug comes out to be $3.50 to $4 a pill here. Reduce that to $2 a pill and that is a great savings."

LeBlanc isn't just confident in Canadian prices, she also trusts the health scrutiny her Canadian pharmacy uses. Before ordering, LeBlanc said she had to fill out a health form and was contacted by a doctor who asked her several questions.

"I think if the drug companies in America cannot give us drugs at decent prices, then I think we have to go elsewhere to get them," LeBlanc said. "And I don't think we should be limited to the U.S. You know, those who do this are adults and we do this at our own risk. But I've never had a problem."

Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh most recently talked about limits on bulk exports of drugs, but the new Nevada law deals with purchases by individuals.


Canadian pharmacies approved for the licensing inspection this week:

• Granville Pharmacy LTD of Vancouver, British Columbia

• Hometown Pharmacy Inc. of Homewood, Manitoba

• K-tel Drug Mart of Canada of Winnipeg, Manitoba

• Lexiem Pharmacy of Winnipeg, Manitoba

• OneWorld Rx of Richmond, British Columbia

• Universal Drugstore LTD of Winnipeg, Manitoba

• Ultra Care Pharmacy of Surrey, British Columbia

The state-approved pharmacies will be listed at

- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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