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The Standard (St. Catharines, Ontario)
Oct 14, 2004
by The Canadian Press
U.S. seniors take 'Rx Express' to T.O.:
Come to buy lower-cost Canadian prescriptionsTORONTO - More than two dozen U.S. seniors and patients rolled into Toronto Wednesday night aboard the "Rx Express," a chartered train on a whistle-stop tour to buy lower-cost Canadian prescription drugs.
The tourists will visit an unnamed Toronto pharmacy today to make their purchases.
Their campaign, however, risks going off the rails because it is illegal for Americans to reimport Canadian drugs into the United States.
"Everybody is looking forward to getting up tomorrow, seeing the doctor and going to get the savings on their prescription drugs that they sorely need," said organizer David Fink, a spokesman for the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights -- a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group.
After buying their drugs, the group plans to split up and blend in with other travellers on their plane trips home. But Fink says the participants feel they have nothing to hide and aren't worried about the long arm of the law.
"The Food and Drug Administration has said they will not prosecute people for bringing back no more than a three-month supply," he said, adding participants will respect that limit.
"And really what kind of statement would the federal government be making by arresting seniors who are just trying to afford their drugs."
The Toronto-bound Amtrak train departed Miami, on Monday and stopped in dozens of East Coast cities to pick up passengers. Dubbed the Rx Express, the trip includes 25 seniors or other ailing Americans from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
The group argues that Canadian prescription drugs are 30 to 60 per cent cheaper because Ottawa buys drugs in bulk from pharmaceutical companies which lowers retail costs for consumers.
Fink estimates that buying Canadian drugs saves the average U.S. consumer about $2,000 US a year.
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