In January, GlaxoSmithKline, a global pharmaceutical manufacturer, announced that it would stop delivering its prescription drugs to wholesalers that supply Canadian mail order pharmacies that sell to American patients. These pharmacies, clustered in Manitoba, take advantage of the price difference between the two countries. Recently, AstraZeneca, an Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical manufacturer, indicated that it would take similar action. Glaxo has weathered a storm of accusations that it is preventing American patients from getting the companys medicines at affordable prices.
The Congress and state governments in the U.S. currently are considering proposals to import prescription drugs from Canada and to use government`s so-called bargaining clout to wring discounts from drug makers. Unfortunately, both initiatives are fraught with self-delusion.