Report: Internet pharmacies siphoning Manitoba's drug supply

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The Pharmacy Alliance for Canadians released a report this week that states that Internet pharmacy companies are diverting more than 40 percent of Manitoba's entire drug supply to the United States.

That amount represents an increase from 25 percent in 2002. If the upward trend continues, Internet pharmacies will control more than half of Manitoba's drug supply this year.

These findings validate survey results released by the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy in November 2003, in which more than 80 percent of Manitoba community pharmacists reported having a harder time finding sufficient supplies of prescription medicines for their patients. That survey also found that 66 percent of Manitoba community pharmacies were struggling to hire or maintain enough pharmacists to care for their patients.

"Forcing Manitobans to compete for our own medicines with cash-paying Americans makes this a healthcare issue," said Lothar Dueck, president of the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy and a community pharmacist in Vita, Manitoba. "The government has ignored the concerns of the province's pharmacists and doctors. And now it has reached crisis proportions."