Americans spent $310 billion on various medications in 2015. Millions of people across the United States have been impacted by the rapid price increase of prescription drugs. Those who have not been directly impacted most likely have a friend or family member who is paying far too much for their medication. These high prices have caused Americans to look elsewhere for all of the prescription drugs they need to survive. Canada is one of the many countries around the world that impose price restrictions on prescription medications. The cost of a prescription drug in Canada is often half of what the same drug would cost in the United States.
The incredibly low prices that Canadian pharmacies charge for prescription drugs has resulted in many Americans making frequent trips north of the border. This has been going on for quite some time. It is important to note that the practice of importing drugs from foreign countries is illegal. However, it is rarely enforced because it would not look good for elderly people to be arrested because they couldn’t afford to buy their heart medication in the United States. That having been said, many people are still nervous about buying prescription drugs from Canada because they do not want to break the law.
A survey was conducted in 2016 which indicated that many people are in favor of legalizing the importation of personal-use medications from foreign countries. This is assuming the pharmacy providing the drugs is completely legitimate. 70% of the people surveyed said they are worried about how expensive prescription drugs have become. Allowing prescription drugs to be legally shipped to the United States from other countries was supported by 65% of the survey respondents.
The survey also revealed some rather disturbing statistics that show just how bad the prescription drug pricing problem has become in the United States. 30% of the people surveyed admitted to knowing someone who regularly does not fill prescriptions because they are too expensive. Equally as shocking was the revelation that one-quarter of survey respondents cut their pills in half or skipped their doses entirely in an effort to save money on prescription drugs.
It is no secret that the wheels of government turn very slowly. It would take a long time for legislation to be enacted that limits the price of prescription drugs. However, Congress has the power to help millions of people immediately by allowing them to legally buy their prescription medication from legitimate pharmacies in Canada.