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Date Posted: 00:48:33 11/07/03 Fri
Author: Julie
Subject: CanaRX

FDA rattles sabre at Canadian pharmacy company

Globe and Mail Update

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Washington A Canadian company supplying low-cost drugs to Americans is breaking U.S. law and Washington may consider blocking its shipments, regulators said Thursday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in a letter to Ontario-based CanaRx, said the company is shipping illegal drugs into the United States, misleading consumers about safety and putting people at risk.

FDA associate commissioner William Hubbard said his agency is working with Canadian authorities who are looking into CanaRx, but he could not say how soon action might be taken.

The FDA's threats, however, did not deter either the company or officials in Springfield, Mass., the first U.S. city to allow its employees to buy drugs from Canada through CanaRx.

"We are not intimidated in Springfield, Mass. and we are not going to be intimidated," said Mayor Michael Albano.

He dismissed the idea the drugs purchased by his city's employees from regulated Canadian pharmacies aere unsafe.

CanaRx president Anthony Howard said his company is "not breaking any laws in Canada or in the United States."

But the FDA said in its letter CanaRx's claims there is no difference between the Canadian drugs and those bought in the United States "simply are not true."

The letter, signed by FDA Compliance Director David Horowitz, noted the FDA has limited enforcement jurisdiction but said the agency is reviewing its options and forwarding the information to Canadian authorities.

For the last four months, Springfield has been offering a voluntary program to employees and retirees that would allow the city to save as much as $9-million (U.S.) by buying the much cheaper Canadian drugs.

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