U.S. bends drug rules for Canada vaccine

Nov. 9, 2004 at 7:13 AM
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Canadian pharmaceutical officials say U.S. drug regulators appear to have a double standard for importing Canadian drugs, the Globe and Mail reports.

The newspaper discovered despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's blockade of bulk Canadian drugs sold at a discount on the Internet, a shipment of 400 doses of flu vaccine was allowed across the border.

A San Francisco doctor had ordered the vaccine from Canadadrugmart.com, a Winnipeg Internet company. The company said only FedEx could guarantee the cooler would be kept cold for the entire time in transit, and it was sent Oct. 20. It was held in cold storage for several days by U.S. Customs, but allowed to pass, and arrived Oct. 28.

"What the hell is going on?" asked David MacKay, executive director of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, when told about the deal by the newspaper. "Sounds to me like making up the rules as you go along."

The United States is facing a major shortage of flu vaccine because a supplier was shut down last month. The FDA also says Canadian drugs could be unsafe since they have not met with U.S. scrutiny.

FDA officials would not comment.

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