Bye bye to Boston’s Canadian drug importation program

Mayor Menino and health care have a funny relationship. He’s against Minute Clinics in drug stores –for reasons that escape me. He’s also seemingly in favor of drug reimportation from Canada, yet his program to encourage it was ill-conceived and is now being abandoned.

Boston made Canadian drug reimportation an option for some of its retirees but almost none took up the offer. It seems the culprits are poor publicity and a lack of incentives provided to the retirees to give it a go. The much smaller city of Springfield, MA has saved about $3 million per year through its reimportation program but Boston’s only captured $4300! What a joke. Now the program is ending.
Truth be told there is little reason these days for seniors to turn abroad for drugs. Generic equivalents (or therapeutic substitutes) are available for more drugs, the Canadian dollar is stronger than it used to be, Medicare Part D provides seniors with coverage they used to lack, and safety scares on overseas drugs are all factors.

Still, Boston continues to live down to its poor reputation for governance.

September 29, 2008

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