Drug Companies Fight Maine's Efforts to Let Residents Buy from Canada

Lawsuit to protect business interests


BANGOR, Maine (CN)—Maine enacted a law to make it easier for residents to buy prescription drugs from neighboring Canada, and the pharmacy and pharmaceutical industry responded with a lawsuit calling it unconstitutional.

The industry claims Maine's "Importation Law," approved in June and set to take effect Oct. 9, poses "serious health risks to consumers" and violates the Foreign Commerce Clause and the Supremacy Clause.

The plaintiffs scrupulously avoid the word "profits" in the 27-page federal lawsuit.

Lead plaintiff Charles Ouellette is the owner-operator of a pharmacy in Fort Kent.

Joining as plaintiffs are the Maine Pharmacy Association, the Maine Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Retail Association of Maine, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and Amelia Arnold, a pharmacist in Augusta.

NEXT: US OK With Dropping Threat of Force in UN Resolution on Syria

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This case is actually ambiguous, from a libertarian perspective. While the Maine pharmacists are obviously acting as protectionists, the fact is that the Drug Companies are subject to price controls in Canada that lowers their effective margin.

    No good guys here.

    1. I think the drug companies are mostly in the right here. Canada and Europe get to free ride on the American consumer. It’s time that they pay their fair share. There is a good reason that we have a patent system.

      Now if you want to talk about evergreening, I’m with ya.

      1. “Canada and Europe get to free ride on the American consumer.”

        And a free ride on those wealthy African and SE Asians, ’cause poor Canada can’t afford to pay 1st-world prices.
        And if they push it far enough, they’ll find meds stagnating.

        1. Actually just about everyone gets to free ride off of us. Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money.

      2. Because the USA consumer pays more than his fair share, he’s got an oversized vote in drug development. If USA people start paying what everyone else pays, development will pretty much stop. I’d rather live in a world where technology advances even though Canadians, Europeans, and other third worlders are free riders than live in a world where those backward people have stopped technological progress.

        1. Not sure if you’re trying to disagree with me. If you are, you’re not succeeding. 🙂 I’m not suggesting that we adopt our enlightened cousins’ price controls. I’m suggesting that they drop theirs…

        2. So it stops.

          Why should the government be pushing to create an artificial business environment? Inflating the price of drugs by granting monopolies and heavy regulation?

          Where does it say in the Constitution that it should promote the research of drugs?

          If people are so concerned about drug research, then people can donate money to drug companies. People shouldn’t be forced to subsidize it by paying extremely high prices.

      3. The original patent system was good.

        What we have now, not so much. It’s too long, 20 years.

        1. Hi Jeremy, The solution to making our current patent system work, is “massive defensive publication” powered by the web, and Excel spreadsheets that can combine, in randomly selected words, phrases, and concepts, everything known to humans. If it is ***ALL*** been defensively published already, nobody can get a patent, and we can all have economic freedom and reduced prices! See a sample of the solution at…..blication/ ?

    2. Canada is but about price controls and monopolies. It’s our ‘balanced’ approach to capitalism. /cough.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.