Parallel Universe

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  • 02/13/2008
I'm in London at a conference on the European parallel trade experience. And it is, indeed, quite an expereince.

Consider first the topic I have been assigned to address: "What a potential Democratic victory will mean for parallel trade in the USA." Well, first of off, I certainly intend to share with my European colleagues my belief that ALL elections in the United States are democratic ones. And next I will tell them why, when it comes to parallel trade (aka "drug importation") it won't make any difference whatsoever.

But I'll report on my own remarks tomorrow. For now, let me share with you some insights from Mr. W. Neil Palmer of RTI Health Solutions. (By way of bona fides, Neil has served as a senior official with the Canadian Patented Medicine Prices Review Board -- the dreaded PMPRB -- as well as with the Health Division of Health Canada, and the Kellogg Centre for Advanced Studies in Primary Care in Montreal.)

His take on the European experience with parallel trade:

* It is not the policy of EU governments to use parallel trade to deliver savings to their individual health care systems.

* Because savings are not passed on to consumers and payers.

* Patient care may be jeopardized because of quality, supply chain integrity and reguatory compliance issues -- as well as potential shortages occuring in exporting nations.

* Increased parallel trade results in decreased competitivenes of the pharmaceutical industry in local markets. And, since the profits of the parallel traders aren't reinvested into R&D, opportunities are lost for the patient, the local health care system, and the economy.

Other than that, it's been a terrific experience.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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