In another last minute move, the government on Friday introduced Bill C-83, a bill designed to address U.S. and big pharma pressure over the sale by Canadian Internet pharmacies of cheaper pharmaceutical products into the U.S. While the bill is obviously not going to become law, it does confirm the Liberal' s policy approach to the issue.
Rather than banning Internet pharmacies, the bill instead grants the government the power to prohibit pharmaceutical exports. The Minister of Health can prohibit retail or wholesale exports of specific drugs where there is a shortage or likely to be a shortage of the drug. The bill also adds new powers to investigate pharmaceutical sales. While there may be a genuine concern over certain vaccines (ie. Tamiflu), the thornier issue will arise if and when the Minister of Health begins issuing orders blocking the sale of pharmaceuticals that may be in short supply not due to significant demand but rather because the pharmaceutical companies themselves choke off the supply, thereby artificially creating potential shortages.