[FoRK] Goddamn unsafe Canadian drugs... uh wait.. its flu season
owen at permafrost.net
Fri Oct 15 09:57:06 PDT 2004
Ironic is not the word I would use.
> Bush's position on Canadian flu shots vs. prescription drugs called
> Helen Branswell
> Canadian Press
> Friday, October 15, 2004
> President George W. Bush spoke of importing Canadian flu vaccine
> during Wednesday's election debate. (AP /Matt York)
> TORONTO (CP) - When President George W. Bush spoke of importing
> Canadian flu vaccine during Wednesday's election debate, many in the
> U.S. public health community were struck by the irony of an
> administration that slams the door on cheaper Canadian drugs, but
> looks north for help with an embarrassing vaccine shortage.
> "It seemed ironic to many of us who were watching that the president
> had kind of disparaged the importation of Canadian (prescription)
> drugs but seemed to be interested in exploring the possibility of
> importing Canadian vaccine," Dr. William Schaffner, a member of the
> U.S. advisory committee on immunization practices, said in an
> interview Thursday.
> Schaffner and others took as hopeful Bush's comment that the
> administration was looking into the possibility of purchasing flu
> shots from Canada's major influenza vaccine manufacturer, ID
> Biomedical of Vancouver.
> The company has between one million and 1.5 million surplus doses it
> has offered to sell to American authorities who have been scrambling
> since vaccine giant Chiron Corp. revealed it could not provide the up
> to 48 million doses it had contracted to supply to the U.S. market.
> Their hopes may have been dampened later in the day, though, when
> Tommy Thompson, the U.S. secretary of health, said it was doubtful
> that vaccine from producers not currently licensed in the United
> States could be imported to help with this year's massive shortage.
> "It doesn't look promising," Thompson said in Washington.
> The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would not comment on any talks
> it might be having with ID Biomedical.
> "FDA is not allowed to disclose information about our discussions with
> companies about such matters," spokeswoman Lenore Gelb said in an
> e-mailed response to an interview request.
> But an ID Biomedical executive confirmed the FDA hasn't asked to see
> safety data for the vaccine. Any serious discussions on licensing the
> vaccine would require the sharing of such information.
> "Frankly, we are not there yet. We are really in the process of
> offering what we could offer," said Michele Roy, director of corporate
> Still, Bush's words gave Schaffner and others cause for hope as they
> try to cope with the nightmare of facing flu season with half the
> needed doses of vaccine.
> "It gives us some guarded optimism that perhaps some vaccine can be
> imported, which is something that we would strongly support," said
> Schaffner, chair of the department of preventive medicine at
> Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
> "The shortage, of course, has stimulated a great desire to receive
> vaccine. And so any additional vaccine would be a little bit of help.
> It won't be a total solution by any means, but anything helps."
> If Schaffner and his friends in public health were chuckling over the
> apparent contradiction in U.S. policy towards drug imports from
> Canada, others weren't amused.
> "They've been disparaging the Canadian drug system, saying how it's a
> buyer beware situation, completely unsafe, can't guarantee the
> safety," said David MacKay, executive director of the Canadian
> International Pharmacy Association. "Then the moment that they need to
> go to Canada to find our flu vaccines, all of a sudden, magically,
> things are safe."
> The association represents Internet pharmacies that have earned the
> ire of the U.S. administration by shipping cheaper Canadian
> prescription drugs to American consumers.
> "It's absolutely ironic and ludicrous to think that (U.S. regulators)
> can assure safety for flu vaccines . . . but they won't do it for
> life-saving Lipitor (a cholesterol-lowering statin) as well," MacKay
> "What's the difference between flu vaccine and Lipitor?"
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