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Canada vows to ‘protect’ drug supplies after Trump proposes importing medication – Global News

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Canada vows to ‘protect’ drug supplies after Trump proposes importing medication – Global News


The Canadian government says it will work to protect drug supplies in Canada after the Trump administration announced Wednesday that it would seek to allow states to import prescription medication from north of the border.

Opening up imports for states is something U.S. President Donald Trump has long boasted as a means of lowering U.S. drug prices.

In a statement to Global News, Health Canada spokesperson Alexander Cohen said: “Our government will protect our supply of and access to medication that Canadians rely on.”


READ MORE:
‘Solve the problem at home’ — U.S. plan to import cheaper drugs from Canada draws criticism

The statement added that the Canadian government will “continue to be in communication with the White House” and the message remains “firm.”

“We share the goal of ensuring people can get and afford the medication they need – but these measures will not have any significant impact on prices or access for Americans. We remain focused on ensuring Canadians have access to the medication they need.”

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The pathways for importation were first announced by the U.S. government in July. Health officials in Washington on Wednesday unveiled a proposed regulation that would allow states to import many brand name drugs from Canada, with federal oversight. A second draft plan would let pharmaceutical companies seek approval to import their own drugs, from any country.






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More Edmonton pharmacists speak out about ongoing drug shortages


More Edmonton pharmacists speak out about ongoing drug shortages

Medicines cost less in Canada, and other advanced countries, because the governments take an active role in setting prices. Higher costs are often reported as the reason why some U.S. residents to travel to Canada to buy medication. The FDA permits U.S. residents to bring medication for personal use across the border but not more than a three-month supply.

Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, called the importation move “a historic step forward in efforts to bring down drug prices and out-of-pocket costs.”

However, there have been concerns in Canada that such a move could harm drug supplies.


READ MORE:
Drug shortages in Canada — Why they happen and what you can do about it

The Canadian Pharmacists Association has been among those raising alarms and calling on the government to take action.

“With an average of five new drug shortages reported each day in Canada, we are not in a position to supply a country 10 times our size and these proposals could restrict the availability of medications for our patients,” a statement from the organization provided to Global News read.

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The organization pushed the Canadian government to “clearly express its opposition” to U.S. drug importations and create an action plan.

The pharmacists’ association isn’t alone in its concern. Earlier this year, 15 groups representing patients, health professionals, hospitals, and pharmacists warned the federal government of the potential for increasing drug shortages in a letter.


Canada vows to ‘protect’ drug supplies after Trump proposes importing medication – Global News



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Trump administration to clear way to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada


Trump administration to clear way to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada

“The Canadian medicine supply is not sufficient to support both Canadian and U.S. consumers,” the letter read. “The supply simply does not, and will not, exist within Canada to meet such demands.”

On the Drug Shortages Canada database, there are currently 9,012 shortage reports. Twenty-three per cent of those shortages, or 2,048, are current issues. One per cent of the reports, a total of 53, are anticipated shortages. The remainder have either been avoided or resolved.

— With files from Reuters, The Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday made history by nominating the first judge of color to sit on the country’s Supreme Court, which has only ever had white justices in its 146-year existence.

Mahmud Jamal, who has been a judge on Ontario‘s court of appeal since 2019, trained as a lawyer and appeared before the Supreme Court in 35 appeals addressing a range of civil, constitutional, criminal and regulatory issues.

“He’ll be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court – and that’s why, today, I’m announcing his historic nomination to our country’s highest court,” Trudeau said on Twitter.

Trudeau has frequently said there is a need to address systemic racism in Canada.

Jamal, born in Nairobi in 1967, emigrated with his family to Britain in 1969 where he said he was “taunted and harassed because of my name, religion, or the color of my skin.”

In 1981 the family moved to Canada, where his “experiences exposed me to some of the challenges and aspirations of immigrants, religious minorities, and racialized persons,” he said in a document submitted to support his candidacy.

Canada is a multicultural country, with more than 22% of the population comprised of minorities and another 5% aboriginal, according to the latest census.

“We know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day,” Trudeau said last year.

Jamal will replace Justice Rosalie Abella, who is due to retire from the nine-person court on July 1.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Donors pledge $1.5 billion for Venezuelan migrants, humanitarian crisis

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Donors pledge .5 billion for Venezuelan migrants, humanitarian crisis

More than 30 countries and two development banks on Thursday pledged more than $1.5 billion in grants and loans to aid Venezuelan migrants fleeing a humanitarian crisis, as well as their host countries and vulnerable people still in the country.

The $954 million in grants announced at a donors’ conference hosted by Canada – which included pledges of $407 million from the United States and C$115 million Canadian dollars ($93.12 million) from Canada – exceeded the $653 million announced at a similar event last year.

But that fell short of the needs of countries hosting the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2015, as the once-prosperous nation’s economy collapsed into a years-long hyperinflationary recession under socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Most have resettled in developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who have themselves seen their budgets stretched thin due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Does this cover all needs? Of course not,” Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters. “We will have to continue to encourage donors to support the response.”

At the conference, Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso announced that the country – which hosts some 430,000 Venezuelans – would begin a new process to regularize migrants’ status. That came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the 1.8 million Venezuelans it hosts.

Karina Gould, Canada‘s minister for international development, said the amount pledged showed donors were eager to support such efforts.

“There is that recognition on behalf of the global community that there needs to be support to ensure that that generosity can continue, and can actually deepen, in host countries,” Gould said.

In addition, the World Bank and Inter-American Developmemt Bank pledged $600 million in loans to address the crisis, Gould said.

($1 = 1.2349 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Luc Cohen, Michelle Nichols and David Ljunggren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Aurora Ellis)

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Ecuador to start new ‘normalization process’ for Venezuelan migrants

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Ecuador to start new ‘normalization process’ for Venezuelan migrants

Ecuador will implement a new “normalization process” for the 430,000 Venezuelan migrants living in the South American country, President Guillermo Lasso said on Thursday, without providing further details of the plan.

Lasso’s announcement, at a conference hosted by Canada intended to raise money to support the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have fled an economic crisis in the South American country, came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the nearly 2 million Venezuelans it hosts.

“I am pleased to announce the beginning of a new regularization process, which in order to be an effective, lasting and permanent policy should be complemented by strategies for economic integration and labor market access,” Lasso said.

Ecuador in late 2019 launched a regularization process for Venezuelans who arrived before July of that year. That included two-year humanitarian visas meant to facilitate access to social services.

Lasso said Ecuador needed outside funding to continue caring for Venezuelan migrants, estimating that more than 100,000 additional migrants were expected to arrive before the end of the year.

“I call on our partners in the international community to be co-responsible and have solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and with the countries that receive them,” he said.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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